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    ‘Serious Security Threat’: Beijing Claims US Spy Planes Posed as Airliners Over 100 Times in 2020

    & Pacific

    In light of increased attention being brought on the activities of US spy planes near , has accused the US of disguising them as civilian airliners more than 100 times in 2020 alone, calling the practice a “serious security threat” and warning it poses a danger to actual civilian aircraft.

    Several times over the last few weeks, observers have noticed US intelligence aircraft seeming to “disappear” in mid-flight on international flight-tracking programs, only to be replaced by what seems to be a civilian aircraft broadcasting what turns out to be a fake transponder code. These “civilian” aircraft then fly typical spy plane routes, patrolling intensively over an area for several hours, before mysteriously turning back into US spy planes on their return flights.

    On September 16, a Chinese government official confirmed those suspicions, saying the US has made the practice routine over the last year.

    “According to incomplete data, since the beginning of this year, the US reconnaissance aircraft have electronically impersonated civil aircraft of other countries in the South China Sea for more than a hundred times. This above-mentioned practice is egregious, which has severely violated international aviation rules, disrupted the aviation order and safety in relevant airspace, threatened the security of China and countries in the region. China firmly opposes that,” he said.


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