The Chinese military has refuted rumors that it shot down a United States Navy plane on Thursday.
An official WeChat account of the People's Liberation Army issued a brief statement on Thursday evening that there were rumors that the PLA hit down a U.S. patrol aircraft flying over the Taiwan Strait earlier that day, urging the public not to believe or spread the false information.
The rumors emerged hours after a news release from the PLA Eastern Theater Command that it sent aircraft to monitor a U.S. P-8A anti-submarine patrol plane, which flew over the Taiwan Strait on Thursday.
The Chinese aircraft followed the P-8A during the entire transit and handled the situation in accordance with the law, according to Senior Colonel Shi Yi, spokesman for the command.
He said the Eastern Theater Command will always remain on high alert to resolutely protect China's sovereignty and security and safeguard peace and stability in the region.