China's defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun called the claims "totally groundless" in a statement on Saturday cited by the Xinhua state news agency, lashing out at the American military for conducting surveillance operations close to Chinese waters.
Beijing has dismissed the Pentagon's accusations that a Chinese fighter jet flew too close to a US military aircraft off Hainan Island, blaming "massive and frequent" surveillance for dangerous mid-air confrontations in state media.
Yang said the fighter jet pilot was a safe distance away and making regular checks on the surveillance aircraft during Tuesday's confrontation in international waters about 135 miles (220 kilometres) east of Hainan island.
US Rear Admiral John Kirby had said on Friday the armed Chinese warplane came close to the American surveillance aircraft three times, flying underneath the American plane, at the P-8's nose and then in parallel with the wingtips, less than 30 feet (nine metres) apart.
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