For years, there have been tensions between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, particularly in the region of the Sprately Islands. There have also been tensions between the US and China over operations in the same region, among others. The US recognizes no Chinese sovreignity over the disputed areas, and maintains its rights to freedom of navigation in the area. And to do so, they regularly exercise those rights, often via Maritime Patrol Aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon. Recently, to show how this plays out, a US Navy P-8A brought along a CNN crew to show just what is involved.
China is unlikely to be so rash as to actually attack an American military aircraft. On the other hand, you don’t have to go too terribly far back into the Cold War to find incidents where they did just that, costing American lives.
Via Alert 5