U.S. Challenges China's New Air Zone

After China claimed the air space over contested islands, the U.S. flew two B-52 bombers through the area in an act of defiance.
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 26, 2013

​The U.S. sent a strong message to China Tuesday, challenging its newly self-established air space by flying two American B-52 bombers through the area.

"That’s in defiance of an air defense zone that Beijing imposed. The zone includes the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China." (Via Al Jazeera)

"China is now claiming that those islands fall inside of its air defense identification zone or essentially air space it controls. Japan also claims those islands." (Via Fox News)

The dispute over who owns the islands goes back decades. China has tried expanding its sea territory throughout the region, though Japan seems to have drawn the line at these islands. (Via NTDTV)

Chinese state news agency Xinhua announced the new changes over the weekend. It released a new map identifying its air defense zone, requiring any other aircraft in the area to report their flight plans to China.

China also warned it could use military force against anyone who didn’t follow the rules. But those changes didn’t sit well with Japan or the U.S.

A Pentagon spokesman said, "The United States military will continue conducting flight operations in the region, including with our allies and partners. We will not in any way change how we conduct our operations as a result of the Chinese policy of establishing an ADIZ, an Air Defense Identification Zone." (Via The Wall Street Journal)

CNN reports Japan "slammed the Chinese announcement, saying it had 'no validity whatsoever.'" And Japan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs called the change dangerous, saying it could escalate tensions and have "unintended consequences."

The U.S. military says this flight over the islands was part of training scheduled before China announced changes in its air zone. Both the planes returned safely.