With President Xi Jinping in the U.S. for a state dinner, hardcore diplomacy is underway trying to solve some very big problems — one of them relating to the sometimes dangerous intercepts of American surveillance aircraft operating in international airspace. Now, it looks like Beijing and Washington have come up with a way of potentially stopping such incidents in the future.
The problem is nothing new, as Chinese jets aggressively maneuvered around U.S. military aircraft operating near the Chinese territory for years. On April 1, 2001 a collision between a U.S. Navy EP-3 Aeries spy aircraft and a Chinese J-8 fighter made for a huge, Cold War-like diplomatic flash point. Almost 15 years later, aggressive Chinese intercepts are still a major concern, and the problem seems to be getting worse as Chinese-U.S. relations sputter.