China has reacted to US and Japanese breaches by reportedly announcing it will now carry out regular patrols
By Alex Spillius, Diplomatic Correspondent
5:20PM GMT 28 Nov 2013
China has dispatched war planes to a newly declared air defence zone over the East China Sea, according to reports.
Xinhua, the state news agency, quoted an air force colonel as saying the aircraft had carried out “routine patrols” of the zone, which covers nearly one million square miles of airspace.
If confirmed, the move would dramatically escalate tensions already running high after the United States, Japan and South Korea all ignored the declaration, which was made at the weekend.
China had insisted that any planes traversing the area should submit flight plans or face “emergency defensive measures”.
Washington responded by sending in two unarmed B52 bombers into the zone on Tuesday, while Japan and South Korea yesterday flew military aircraft into the area in defiance of Beijing.
The zone includes a cluster of rocky outcrops known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Earlier Japanese surveillance aircraft have conducted routine operations within China’s recently declared air defence identification zone.
Beijing announced on Sunday that any aircraft entering the zone, which covers nearly 1 million square miles above the East China Sea, would be challenged, required to identify itself and follow Chinese order.
Categories: Escalation / Destabilization Conflict