WW3 fears escalate as China claims US spy planes made record monthly visits

World War 3 fears are escalating again after China claimed the US military carried out a record number of close-up reconnaissance flights over the South China Sea.

Apparently 94 American spy planes entered Chinese airspace in November, according to the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI).

The high number of flights represents an increase of nearly 30% from the previous high of 75 US reconnaissance flights logged by the think tank in February.

It is also the highest number of US military flights in the area since reporting began in June 2019.

The SCSPI said almost 80% of the activity in November involved the P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft.

Other planes used for the missions were the MQ-4C unmanned reconnaissance aircraft and the E-8C air-to-ground surveillance aircraft, South China Morning Post reports.

It also said the US had carried out its highest number of reconnaissance flights near China in a single day last month after the US sent 10 spy planes over the South China Sea on November 4.

It is believed the mission was carried out while USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier strike group sailed through the region.

The planes also appeared to expand their reconnaissance range last month as records cite a flight over the Taiwan Strait by a US Navy P-8A anti-submarine patrol aircraft on November 29.

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The SCSPI said: “During the operation, it was only about 15.91 nautical miles [29.46km] from the baseline of the Chinese mainland’s territorial waters"

The news comes just months after China and the USA were reported to be edging ever closer to a major military clash over Taiwan.

A stark warning in The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper that’s seen as the voice of China’s leadership, warns that an attack on Taiwan could come “at any time,” and that US troops would be the first target.

While an uneasy peace has prevailed for the past 70 years, the Global Times says invasion is becoming an "increasingly realistic option".

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