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The rejection came on Sunday after Pentagon spokesman Commander Gary Ross said Chinese J-10 warplanes had intercepted a US Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane operating in what he said was international airspace.

The Chinese Ministry of Defense responded in a statement posted on its website on Sunday.

“On May 25, a US patrol plane carried out reconnaissance activities in the airspace southeast of Hong Kong, China,” it said. “The Chinese military aircraft carried out identification in accordance with law. The operations were professional and safe.”

The Defense Ministry also declared that the US account of the interception was inaccurate.

Noting that the US military should take steps to avoid similar activities, it stressed that China’s military was determined to protect the country’s sovereignty and security.

This is the second time in less than two weeks that the United States claims its planes were intercepted by Chinese fighter jets in unsafe manners.

On May 18, the US Air Force said two Chinese Sukhoi Su-30 jets had reportedly came within close proximity of an American four-engine WC-135 jet over the East China Sea, forcing it to descend hundreds of feet from its position.

Beijing later denied that allegation and said that its aircraft had acted “in accordance with the law.”

The US’s military presence in the region concerns China, which says such presence causes unnecessary tensions.

Chinese forces conducted two such interceptions last year, one in the South China Sea and one in the East China Sea.