A U.S. Navy coastal patrol aircraft P-8A Poseidon was exposed to a laser from the Chinese destroyer No. 161. The incident occurred in the international zone of the water area about 600 km west of the Guam island, Voice of America reported referring to the command of the US Pacific Fleet.
The statement noted that the P-8A was in international airspace in accordance with all rules and regulations. While the actions of the Chinese destroyer were unsafe and unprofessional. The Chinese side also violated the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea - a multilateral agreement concluded in 2014 to reduce the number of incidents between different states. The Code mentions the use of lasers, which can cause damage to crew or equipment.
The crew of the Chinese destroyer also violated the Memorandum of Understanding concluded by the US and China.
The use of a laser was detected by a sensor on board an American aircraft. Armed forces lasers can potentially cause serious harm to aircraft crews and sailors, as well as ship and aircraft systems.
The P-8A was heading for Kaden's US Air Force base on Okinawa Island in Japan. The aircraft squadron carries out routine operations, naval patrols and reconnaissance missions in the US Seventh Fleet operations area.
As the United States Pacific Fleet noted, the US Navy planes regularly fly over the Philippine Sea, and have been doing this for many years, and the US vessels and aircraft will continue to operate where international law allows it.