It appears as if no lessons were learned in the Hainan Island incident back in April of 2001. In that case, a US Navy EP-3 was intercepted by Chinese PLAN (People’s Liberation Army Navy) J-8’s. Allegedly one of the J-8’s was flying extremely dangerously and ended up colliding in midair with the EP-3. The J-8 and her pilot were lost, the P-3 crew had to make an emergency landing in China, and the event became a major international incident. Fast forward to May 2016, and this time another US Navy EP-3 was intercepted by a pair of Chinese J-11’s. The Pentagon has called the intercept unsafe with reports of at least one J-11 flying within 50 feet of the P-3.

At least two Chinese J-11 tactical aircraft carried out an “unsafe” intercept of a United States EP-3 reconnaissance aircraft that was conducting a routine mission in international airspace over the South China Sea, a U.S. defense official told CNN [last] Wednesday.

The Chinese jets came within 50 feet of the American aircraft at one point, the official said.
“We have made progress reducing risk between our operational forces and those of the People’s Republic of China by improved dialogue at multiple levels under the bilateral Confidence Building Measures and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said.
China's Dangerous Intercept of US Navy Aircraft
“Over the past year, we have seen improvements in PRC actions, flying in a safe and professional manner,” he said. “We are addressing the issue through the appropriate diplomatic and military channels.”
A separate defense official told CNN this type of incident is not something the U.S. military frequently sees in that region with Chinese aircraft. Incidents with Russian aircraft in the Black Sea that have been well documented over the past year are much more common.
This is an incident that “definitely has people’s attention” at the Pentagon, the second official said.
The original article can be read in its entirety at CNN right here.
(Featured photo by Jason Hyatt)