Chinese aircraft have buzzed the aircraft of many nations, in one instance flying within 20 feet of a U.S. military plane flying in international airspace, U.S. officials said.
"What you're seeing here is a broader pattern of activities that represent not only unprofessional behavior, but also encroachment, coercion and lack of transparency," Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during a Pentagon news conference. "That's problematic."
Chinese ships also harass the vessels of other nations, U.S. officials have said. And the nations of the region are working together to stop this harassment of vessels sailing in international waters.
"We are heartened by the discussions that Manila is having with two of our closest allies in the region, Australia and Japan, on the topic of combined operational activities in the maritime domain," Ryder said. "We're committed to expanding cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, with allies to include the Philippines, Australia and Japan, that share our vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific."
Keeping international sea lanes and air lanes open is in every nation's interest. "Our activities in the region contribute to what we've talked about many times before, which is ensuring security, stability and peace throughout the region [and] working with our allies and partners to ensure that, that countries can continue to sail the international seas, fly the international airways, and operate anywhere that international law allows," the general said.
Ryder stressed the United States is not seeking any type of conflict with China. "But we do want to ensure that nations can continue to have faith in their sovereign borders," he said.