Beijing has accused the United States of camouflaging the identities of their warplanes as civilian aircraft. The aircraft were reportedly sent to spy on China.

US Disguise

According to Wang Wenbin during a Chinese Foreign Ministry briefing this week, "it is the old trick of the US military to use a transponder code to impersonate civil aircraft of other countries," reported Express.

The disguise was reportedly through altering transponder codes at least 100 times this 2020. The allegation arrives at a time of brewing tension between the two powers, which has bolstered US military activity in the Indo-Pacific.

Report from a Chinese Think Tank

According to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), it has registered incidents of the US cloaking its planes as civilian airliners. The SCSPI alleges that between September 8th and 10th US aircraft cloaked as Malaysia civilian planes flew over the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, the Yellow Sea near the Chinese coast, and the Taiwan Strait.

Neither Confirmed Nor Denied

A top Air Force leader in the Pacific neither confirmed nor denied recent reports that an American aircraft disguised itself as a Malaysian plane claimed to be impersonating a transponder signal to spy on the activities of the Chinese military. He said that the US did not contravene any rule.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) stated the report and that the activity is provocative and dangerous.

A US Air Force RC-135W electronic reconnaissance aircraft reportedly flew from an airbase on Okinawa at 8:00 AM on September 16 which China accuses as a spy.

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Beijing described the situation as a "serious security threat." Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that their activity is a "vile of nature."

South China Sea

The US has rejected China's claims to the South China Sea and has remarkably geared its military presence in the area. Each party has cautioned the other of the harm of further escalation. The US has sanctioned China's firms that helped build its island outposts.

'Dangerous Provocations'

With US spy planes cloaking themselves as civilian aircraft, actual civilian aircraft are reportedly put in jeopardy.

Wang added, "We urge the US to immediately stop such dangerous provocations, to avoid accidents from happening in the sea and air," reported View from the Wing.

China added that if this situation continues, it could lead to "accidents."

When the US was accused of flying military aircraft out of Malaysia while cloaking themselves as civilian jets, Malaysia did not comment on the claims.

According to SCSPI, "This undoubtedly added up to great risk and uncertainty to international flight safety, which could lead to misjudgment (by ground air defence systems) and probably bring danger to civilian aircraft especially those being impersonated," reported I Know the Pilot.

The US Air Force, which has elevated its activities in the South China Sea in the past few months, uses commercial aircraft platforms for several of its planes with the RC-135 being based on a Boeing 707. This allows them to take civilian cover and why China accuses US aircraft as spies.

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