A couple of weeks ago China threatened to shoot down civilian aircraft. They claimed US spy planes were disguising themselves as commercial flights, and that put all commercial flights in jeopardy.
“It’s a common trick for the US Air Force to impersonate the transponder code of civilian aircraft from other countries … It is of a vile nature,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said earlier this week.
“We urge the US to immediately stop such dangerous provocations, to avoid accidents from happening in the sea and air.”
It’s striking that China publicly indicated a willingness to shoot down planes whether they’re sure those planes are U.S. spy aircraft or not. Whether that reflects an actual willingness or not, it evinces a fundamental disregard for human life. In the face of such threats, though, if the U.S. is indeed doing this then continuing is irresponsible.
Now the Philippines is claiming that the U.S. may be trying to ‘test’ Chinese reaction when a “US Air Force’s RC-135S reconnaissance plane changed its hex code to one assigned to a Philippine aircraft when it flew over the Yellow Sea between the Chinese coast and Korea peninsula.”
“The (US) pilots are probably trying to test the reaction that would come from China and so the Chinese reacted and it came out in the news,” [Philippines National Security Advisor] Esperon said at a press briefing.
…The hex code is the registered identification code of the aircraft at the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Esperon said the Yellow Sea is not an area where the Philippines commonly goes to and the incident was expected to raise suspicion.
“We usually stay within our domain in air and maritime patrols,” said Esperon, a former armed forces chief. “No going to the Yellow Sea for surveillance. So when you notice a Philippine code comes to the area, then all the more it brings suspicion,” he said.
According to Esperon, the incident should be discussed with US officials as it could “incriminate” the Philippines.
China has declared this to be a dangerous game because they’ll make it dangerous yet it appears the U.S. may be continuing to play.