BEIJING – China’s defense ministry on Thursday rejected a Philippine claim that Chinese fighter jets flew past joint patrols being conducted by the Philippines and Australia.

What the Philippines said is “groundless” and “not true”, said a ministry spokesperson at a monthly press conference.

Manila said on Sunday that two Chinese fighter jets were seen “orbiting” a Philippine aircraft participating in patrols with Australia in the South China Sea but did not cause any untoward incident.

What the Philippines said is sheer “malicious” hype, the spokesperson said.—Reuters