DOD Releases Declassified Images, Videos of "Coercive and Risky Operational Behavior" By China
DOD: "The PLA's coercive and risky behavior seeks to intimidate and coerce members of the international community into giving up their rights under international law."
Department of Defense: The Department of Defense today released a collection of declassified images and videos depicting 15 recent cases of coercive and risky operational behavior by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) [China] against U.S. aircraft operating lawfully in international airspace in the East and South China Sea regions.
Ahead of the anticipated release of the congressionally-mandated 2023 Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China, or "China Military Power Report (CMPR)," the images and videos published by the Department underscore key findings in the forthcoming document about an increasing trend of coercive and risky operational behavior by the PLA since the fall of 2021. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J.
Austin III and other officials across the Department have previously raised their concerns about this behavior in a range of settings, including during the Secretary's engagements in 2021 and 2022 with General Wei Fenghe, then-Minister of National Defense of the People's Republic of China (PRC), as well as the Secretary's public remarks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2022 and 2023.
The declassified images and videos were captured during lawful U.S. air operations, during which PLA operators engaged in coercive and risky activities, including reckless maneuvers, close approaches at high speeds in the air, releasing objects and projectiles like flares, and other dangerous behavior.
For decades, the United States has flown, sailed, and operated in the region – safely, responsibly, and in accordance with international law. Allies and partners welcome U.S. presence in the Indo-Pacific because it advances a shared regional vision of peace and security.
This common vision, which Secretary Austin described at the Shangri-La Dialogue this year, is one of respect for sovereignty; adherence to international law; belief in transparency and openness; freedom of commerce and navigation; equal rights for all states; and the resolution of disputes through peaceful dialogue – not coercion or conquest.
By contrast, the PLA's coercive and risky behavior seeks to intimidate and coerce members of the international community into giving up their rights under international law.