US defies China by flying B-52 bombers over disputed islands
Newscast Media TOKYO—The US has defied the Chinese declaration of a new airspace
defense zone, flying two military aircraft around islands contested by Beijing and
Tokyo. US officials have dismissed Beijing’s policy as “inflammatory.”
The US flew two B-52 bombers around the disputed Senkaku Islands, US officials
reported on Tuesday, and without giving advance notice to Chinese authorities.
It followed a weekend declaration by China, which on Saturday published coordinates
for an “East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ),” including the islands.
The ADIZ declaration, if observed to by other nations, would give China control over
airspace above some of the world’s busiest international shipping lanes.
The Senkakus, known as the Diayou in Chinese, are the center of a long-running
dispute for sovereignty between Beijing and Tokyo.
China had warned that it would take “defensive emergency measures” against
aircrafts that fail to correctly identify themselves within the airspace.
Routine training flights, says US
However, US officials said that no changes had been made to normal flight routines.
“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus,” said US military
spokesman Steve Warren.
“We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight
plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies.”
The mission went ahead “without incident,” Warren said. He added that the two
aircrafts had spent “less than an hour” in the zone unilaterally-declared by China.
Both unarmed aircrafts were said to have taken off from the US island of Guam on
Monday as part of a scheduled training exercise, the military sources confirmed.
A Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Crosson, said the mission had
been planned “well before” China declared the zone.
The White House on Tuesday said the dispute over the islands should be resolved
“The policy announced by the Chinese over the weekend is unnecessarily
inflammatory,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnes.
“These are the kinds of differences that should not be addressed with threats or
inflammatory language, but rather can and should be resolved diplomatically,” he said.