Nov 29 (Reuters) – China sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft into its new air defence zone over the East China Sea on Thursday, state news agency Xinhua said, raising the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Japan and South Korea also flew military aircraft through the zone on Thursday while Washington sent two unarmed B-52 bombers into the airspace earlier this week in a sign of support for its ally Japan. None of those aircraft informed Beijing.
China last week announced that foreign aircraft passing through its new air defence zone – including passenger planes – would have to identify themselves to Chinese authorities. The zone includes the skies over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.
The Chinese patrol mission was “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices”, Xinhua cited air force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying.
“China’s air force is on high alert and will take measures to deal with diverse air threats to firmly protect the security of the country’s airspace,” he said.
However, Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said it was “incorrect” to suggest China would shoot down aircraft which entered the zone without first identifying themselves. He did not elaborate.
Full article: WRAPUP 1-China military sends air patrols through new defence zone (Reuters)