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China protests alleged US spy plane incursion during military drills

China is protesting the alleged incursion of an Air Force U-2 spy plane into a no-fly zone imposed during live-firing military exercises in the country’s north.

In a statement issued late on Tuesday, the Ministry of National Defence said the action had “seriously interfered in normal exercise activities” and “severely incurred the risk of misjudgment and even of bringing about an unintended air-sea incident.”

“This was a naked act of provocation,” the ministry said, quoting spokesperson Wu Qian. China has lodged a stern protest and demanded the cease such actions, Wu said.

The statement said the exercises were being staged by China’s Northern Theater Command but gave no details as to their exact time and place.

Relations between the and China have sunk to their lowest in decades amid disputes over a myriad of issues, including trade, technology, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

The high-altitude reconnaissance planes were flown over China, the former Soviet Union and other countries in the Communist bloc during the Cold War and upgraded versions to continue to support missions in Asia and elsewhere.