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Chinese fighter jets created unsafe situation for frigate, says Netherlands

A file image of HNLMS Tromp . The frigate encountered Chinese aircraft while on patrols in the East China Sea on 7 June. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

A Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) De Zeven Provincien-class frigate experienced possibly unsafe manoeuvres from Chinese aircraft while it was carrying out patrols in the East China Sea on 7 June, the Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) disclosed on the same day.

The frigate, HNLMS Tromp, was carrying out the patrols as part of a multinational effort to oversee the enforcement of maritime sanctions against North Korea as defined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions, the MoD said.

During the patrols, two Chinese fighter jets circled the frigate several times, according to the MoD statement, which did not identify the type of aircraft involved.

“Additionally, the ship's NH90 maritime combat helicopter was approached by two Chinese fighter jets and a Chinese helicopter during a patrol. This created a potentially unsafe situation,” the MoD said, adding that the incident took place in international airspace.

Similarly, the MoD did not give further details on the type of Chinese helicopter involved in the statement that was published on its official website.

However, images released via the MoD's official social media channel on the same day of the statement indicate that the helicopter involved was a Z-19 light reconnaissance airframe while the fighters were JH-7s.

After the incident, Tromp continued its journey as part of the service's six-month ‘Pacific Archer' mission, which tests the RNLN's ability to operate independently worldwide. At the time that the statement was issued, Tromp was making its way to Japan.

For more information on the RNLN frigate involved in this incident, please seeDe Zeven Provincien class (FFGHM) .

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