The U.S. Navy says a Chinese warship fired a military-grade laser at a surveillance aircraft flying above international waters over the Pacific Ocean in an action that could have caused serious harm to service members, as well as ship and aircraft systems.
The laser was fired from a Chinese navy destroyer at a Navy P-8A plane about 380 miles west of Guam on Feb. 17, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement Thursday, reports The Hill.
The act was in violation of "the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), a multilateral agreement reached at the 2014 Western Pacific Naval Symposium to reduce the chance of an incident at sea," the statement said.
It was also inconsistent with a Memorandum of Understanding between the Defense Department and the People’s Republic of China Ministry of National Defense concerning rules of behavior for air and maritime safety.
The laser was not visible to the naked eye but was captured by a sensor on the U.S. plane. The incident was one of more than 20 that have been recorded by the Pentagon since 2017 in which lasers believed to be Chinese were used to target aircraft in over the Pacific Ocean and Africa.
The attacks happen most often near shipping routes near disputed island chains in the East China Sea, but the Navy says it will continue its flights in the as it has been doing for years.
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