Military tensions heightened between China and the United States as the Obama Administration looks to clamp down on Beijing’s influence along the Pacific Rim. On Thursday, China’s defense ministry asserted that it acted within the rules of engagement after American officials criticized Beijing for a “provocative” and “unsafe” intercept of a US surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea last week.

A Pentagon spokesperson alleged that two Chinese fighter jets undertook an illegal intercept of an American spy plane during “a routine US patrol” over international airspace, heightening the risk of military miscalculation in the hotly contested region. READ MORE