China Accuses The U.S. Of What?, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

China’s defense ministry has alleged that the United States has been interfering with a naval exercise in the South China Sea. In a statement on Wednesday, the Southern Theater Command of China’s military stated that it “operated professionally” and followed all laws and regulations. This was in response to the U.S. Info-Pacific Command’s accusations that a Chinese J-16 fighter pilot had been “unnecessarily aggressive” in their movement while intercepting a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft.

The U.S. has claimed that the RC-135 was performing its routing operations over the South China Sea and was located in international airspace during the incident. However, Senior Col. Zhang Nandong, a spokesperson for the Southern Theater Command, has claimed that the U.S. had made “false accusations” and that they had been attempting to misguide the international community. Furthermore, China claims that the entirety of the South China Sea is its territory, a claim that the U.S. does not recognize.

On Wednesday, Mao Ning, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson claimed that the U.S. needed to put a stop to its provocations and threats on China’s sovereignty adding that these dangerous moves lead to maritime security issues.

Tensions between China and the U.S. have been growing in recent months, especially following China’s recent condemnation of the country’s support for Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island that China believes to be part of its territory. In the past years, the Chinese military drills near the island have also led to many being worried about the possibility of the country invading the self-governing island.