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Washington — The Pentagon says a Chinese fighter jet conducted a “dangerous intercept” of a U.S. Navy aircraft three days ago off the coast of China in international airspace.

The Pentagon press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said Friday that Washington has lodged a protest to China through diplomatic channels.

Kirby said the Chinese jet made several close passes by the Navy P-8 Poseidon plane, coming within 30 feet of it. He said the Chinese jet did a roll maneuver over the top of the Poseidon and also passed across the nose of the Navy plane, exposing the belly of the fighter in a way apparently designed to show that it was armed.

Kirby said it happened about 135 miles east of Hainan Island.

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