The U.S. Defense Department has accused the Chinese military of “a sharp increase in coercive and risky” behavior in airspace above the East and South China Seas over the last two years, voicing concern over the moves as fears mount that an accident could erupt into full-scale conflict.

The Pentagon said Tuesday that it had documented nearly 300 such incidents against U.S., allied and partner aircraft since the fall of 2021 — including more than 180 cases against American military aircraft alone — part of what it said was a "a centralized and concerted campaign to ... coerce a change in lawful U.S. operational activity and that of U.S. allies and partners.”

All of the incidents involved Chinese People’s Liberation Army planes that “performed reckless maneuvers or discharged chaff or shot off flares or approached too rapidly or too close to U.S. aircraft,” Ely Ratner, the Pentagon’s top official for Asia, told a news conference.