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Posts tagged ‘East China Sea’

Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands.

Image: Senators Urge China to Lift Defense Zone Over Islands

By Drew MacKenzie

A bipartisan group of senators is asking China to lift the air defense zone it created in November over three deserted islands that both Beijing and Japan claim as their own, going further than what the Obama Administration has requested.

Vice President Joe Biden expressed “deep concerns” to Chinese President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing in early December about the Air Defense Identification Zone. But he apparently did not ask China to lift it, even though the deserted islands in the East China Sea were actually purchased by Japan. China has requested that it be informed of all flights through the new zone, and the administration has recommended that U.S. commercial carriers comply with that request, The Hill is reporting.

“I don’t think anyone should be reporting to them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

“If the Chinese are willing to shoot down a civilian aircraft on an illegitimate claim, then they’re a criminal government,” the Florida senator told The Hill. “Airlines are free to do whatever they choose, but I don’t think our government should be telling them to do that because it sends confusing messages.”

When China laid claim to the Senkaku islands and declared the air defense zone, the U.S. immediately flew two B-52 bombers right through it. The U.S. has also sent more ships and has opened more outposts in the region. China is feeling threatened by the move.

While efforts have been made by both Chinese and U.S. officials to calm tensions, neither country has backed down.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said he thought it was a mistake that Biden didn’t make the issue central to his meeting with the Chinese leader.

Rubio, along with three Democratic and Republican committee leaders, sent a letter earlier in December to China’s ambassador to the U.S asking Beijing to back off.

“We urge your government not to implement this ADIZ as announced, and to refrain from taking similar provocative actions elsewhere in the region,” the group wrote. “There is nothing for China to gain by undermining regional stability and threatening the peace and prosperity that is the shared object of all Asia-Pacific nations.”

The White House has not taken an official position on the territorial dispute, but Chinese officials say the U.S. has long sided with Japan, citing the fact that the islands are mentioned in the 1960 Defense treaty with Japan.

“It seems absurd that [the U.S.] would commit itself to defend a few small islands it has no position about,” said one Chinese military official.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

China Confirms Near Miss With US Ship in South China Sea.

BEIJING — China Wednesday confirmed an incident between a Chinese naval vessel and a U.S. warship in the South China Sea, after Washington said a U.S. guided missile cruiser had avoided a collision with a Chinese warship maneuvering nearby.
Experts have said the near-miss between the USS Cowpens and a Chinese warship operating near China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, was the most significant U.S.-China maritime incident in the disputed South China Sea since 2009.
China’s Defense Ministry said the Chinese naval vessel was conducting “normal patrols” when the two vessels “met.”
“During the encounter, the Chinese naval vessel properly handled it in accordance with strict protocol,” the ministry said in a statement on its website (
“The two defense departments were kept informed of the relevant situation through normal working channels and carried out effective communication.”
Washington said last week its ship was forced to take evasive action on December 5 to avoid a collision.
The incident came at a time of heightened tensions in the region following Beijing‘s declaration of an air defense identification zone further north in the East China Sea, which prompted protests from Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul.
China’s Defense Ministry said, however, there were “good opportunities” for developing Sino-U.S. military ties.
“Both sides are willing to strengthen communication, maintain close coordination and make efforts to maintain regional peace and stability,” the ministry said.
The Liaoning aircraft carrier, which has yet to be fully armed and is being used as a training vessel, was flanked by escort ships including two destroyers and two frigates during its first deployment into the South China Sea.
Friction over the South China Sea has surged as China uses its growing naval might to assert a vast claim over the oil-and-gas rich area, raising fears of a clash between it and other countries in the area, including the Philippines and Vietnam.
The United States had raised the incident at a “high level” with China, according to a State Department official quoted by the U.S. military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper.
Beijing routinely objects to U.S. military surveillance operations within its exclusive economic zone, while Washington insists the United States and other nations have the right to conduct routine operations in international waters.
China deployed the Liaoning to the South China Sea just days after announcing its air defense zone, which covers air space around a group of tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that are administered by Japan but claimed by Beijing as well.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

US, Chinese Warships Narrowly Avoid Collision in South China Sea.

Image: US, Chinese Warships Narrowly Avoid Collision in South China Sea

The USS Cowpens

A U.S. guided missile cruiser operating in international waters in the South China Sea was forced to take evasive action last week to avoid a collision with a Chinese navy ship maneuvering nearby, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said in a statement on Friday.

The incident on Dec. 5 involving the USS Cowpens came at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and China following Beijing’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.

The Pacific Fleet statement did not offer details about what led to the near-collision. But it did say the incident underscored the need for the “highest standards of professional seamanship, including communications between vessels, to mitigate the risk of an unintended incident or mishap.”

Beijing declared the air defense zone over the East China Sea late last month and demanded that aircraft flying through the area provide it with flight plans and other information.

The United States and its allies rejected the Chinese demand and have continued to fly military aircraft into the zone, which includes air space over a small group of islands claimed by China but currently administered by Tokyo.

In the midst of the tensions over the air defense zone, China deployed its only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, to the South China Sea for maneuvers. Beijing claims most of the South China Sea and is involved in territorial disputes in the region with several of its neighbors.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Tom Donilon: Karzai Failure To Sign Pact ‘Reckless’.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai‘s refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States will result in the withdrawal of all American troops from the region by the end of next year, former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Sunday.

“His refusal to sign it at this point, I think, is reckless,” Donilon said on ABC’s “This Week.” “If the United States doesn’t have a bilateral security arrangement with Afghanistan that supports its troop presence there and provides the kind of guidance and protections that we need, the United States cannot be present in Afghanistan after Dec. 31, 2014.”

The so-called a “zero-option” plan, while necessitated by Karzai’s lack of support, could unravel the military developments made during the 12-year war, Donilon said.

“We think that, at the end of the day, it would be better to have continued support for the Afghan national forces and have a small kind of terrorism presence in Afghanistan,” he said.

When asked to discuss China’s decision last week to demarcate a no-fly zone across a portion of the East China Sea, Donilon said the move has increased political and military tensions with a country that has the fastest-growing economy in the world.

“Asia is a principle opportunity for the United States and the world going forward,” he said, adding China has been able to prosper because of the “security platform” the United States has provided the region for six decades.

Donilon suggested beefing up that security platform.

“It’s a critical role for the United States, and it’s one that we should play going forward,” he said.

Donilon praised President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for reaching a deal with Iran on the nuclear-enrichment program, calling it a “very good foundation” and a “very solid achievement” that lays the base for further negotiations.

“How did we get here with respect to Iran?” he said. “We got here through a U.S.-led, very tough isolation and pressure campaign.”

Donilon said the centerpiece of that campaign were the sanctions.

The sanctions — the most stringent ever put on a country, Donilon said — are the reason the Iranians agreed to the nonproliferation pact.

“There’s a direct line here between the sanctions, [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani’s election and their coming to the table,” Donilon said. “Why? Because we’ve put tremendous pressure on the Iranian economy. We’ve also isolated the Iranians politically. The test now is whether or not the Iranians can do the things they need to do to assure the United States and the national community they don’t have a dangerous program.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Amy Woods

US Advises Airlines to Comply with China Air Defense Zone.

Image: US Advises Airlines to Comply with China Air Defense Zone

A statue of Wu Daguan, who is known as the “Father of China’s military aviation industry”, is displayed next to a Chinese produced J-10 fighter jet in Beijing on Nov. 28.

The United States advised its commercial airlines to notify Chinese authorities of flight plans when traveling through an air defense zone that Beijing established a week ago over the East China Sea, ratcheting up regional tensions.

The United States said it expected U.S. carriers to operate in line with so-called notices to airmen issued by foreign countries, adding, however, that the decision did “not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China’s requirements.”

The advice is in contrast with America’s close ally Japan, where the two major airlines have agreed with the Japanese government to fly through the zone without notifying China.

Beijing wants foreign aircraft passing through the zone – including passenger planes – to identify themselves to Chinese authorities.

A U.S. administration official said China’s action appeared to be a unilateral attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea, which could “increase the risk of miscalculation, confrontation, and accidents”.

“We urge the Chinese to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties throughout the region,” the official said.

The zone includes skies over islands at the heart of a tense territorial dispute between Japan and China and represents a historic challenge by the emerging new world power to the United States, which has dominated the region for decades.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is due to visit China, Japan and South Korea next week, and will try to ease tensions over the issue, senior U.S. officials said.

Defying China’s declaration of the air defense zone, the United States, Japan and South Korea flew military aircraft through the area this week without informing Beijing.

On Friday, China scrambled jets after two U.S. spy planes and 10 Japanese aircraft, including F-15 fighters, entered the zone, China’s state news agency Xinhua said. The jets were scrambled for effective monitoring, it quoted air force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying.

The Chinese patrol mission, conducted on Thursday, was “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices”, Shen said, according to Xinhua.

“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, Defense 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.

U.S. flights were “routinely” transiting the zone, U.S. officials said on Friday. Flights this week included a training mission for two unarmed B-52 bombers.

“These flights are consistent with long standing and well known U.S. freedom of navigation policies,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said. “I can confirm that the U.S. has and will continue to operate in the area as normal.”

A U.S. defense official said the routine operations included reconnaissance and surveillance flights.


In a further sign of Tokyo’s defiance, Japanese carriers ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines have flown through the zone without informing China. Neither airline experienced any problems.

The airlines said they were sticking with that policy even after Washington advised U.S. commercial airlines to notify China when they fly through the zone, although an ANA spokesman said his airline would follow whatever advice the government provided.

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday there had been no impact on the safe operation of international civilian flights since the zone had come into force, although China “hoped” airlines would co-operate.

Ties between China and Japan have been strained for months by the dispute over the islands, called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan.

Mutual mistrust over military intentions and what China feels is Japan’s lack of contrition over its brutal occupation of parts of China before, and during, World War Two have added to tension.

“It’s important for both sides to take a calm approach and deal with the situation according to international norms,” Japan’s Defense Minister, Itsunori Onodera, told state broadcaster NHK on Saturday. Onodera said the Japanese military had not noted any Chinese aircraft in the zone.

Although Washington takes no position on the sovereignty of the islands, it recognises Tokyo’s administrative control and says the U.S.-Japan security pact applies to them.

Europe’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton, said the European Union was concerned about China’s decision to establish the new air defense zone as well as its announcement of “emergency defense measures” if other parties did not comply.

“This development heightens the risk of escalation and contributes to raising tensions in the region,” Ashton said. “The EU calls on all sides to exercise caution and restraint.”


China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang criticised Ashton’s remarks, saying China hoped the EU could treat the situation “objectively and rationally”.

“Actually, Madam Ashton should know that some European countries also have air defense identification zones,” Qin said. “I don’t know if this leads to tensions in the European regional situation. European countries can have air defense identification zones. Why can’t China?”

Although there are concerns over the increased tensions, the United States and China have stepped up military communication in recent years to avoid accidental clashes.

The Global Times, an influential tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily newspaper, praised the government for its calm response in the face of “provocations”, saying China would not target the United States in the zone as long as it “does not go too far”.

But it warned Japan it could expect a robust response if it continued to fly military aircraft in the zone.

“If the trend continues, there will likely be frictions and confrontations and even a collision in the air … It is therefore an urgent task for China to further train its air force to make full preparation for potential conflicts,” it wrote in an editorial on Friday.

(Additional reporting by Phil Stewart in Washington and Sui-Lee Wee, Michael Martina and Paul Carsten in Beijing; Writing by Neil Fullick; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


China Sends Fighter Jets Though Disputed Military Zone.

China’s military sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft on patrol into disputed air space over the East China Sea on Thursday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported, quoting a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

The move raises the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea over the zone. Japan and South Korea sent their own military aircraft through the air space on Thursday.

The Chinese patrol mission was “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices,” said Shen Jinke, a spokesman for China’s air force, in the Xinhua article.

By the end of the day, Chinese media were reporting that Japan was the “prime target” of  Beijing’s newly declared air defense zone, calling for “timely countermeasures without hesitation” if Tokyo defies it.

However, other countries which have sent military aircraft into the air defense identification zone (ADIZ), including the United States and South Korea, should be largely ignored, the Global Times said.

Ties between China and Japan have been strained for months by the dispute over the islands in the East China Sea, called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan. The islands are currently under Japanese administrative control.

China last week unilaterally announced that foreign aircraft – including passenger aircraft – passing over the islands would have to identify themselves to China.

Earlier this week, Washington sent two unarmed B-52 bombers through the airspace without first informing Beijing, a sign of support for its ally Japan.

Although there are risks of a confrontation in the defense zone, U.S. and Chinese military officials have stepped up communication with each other in recent years and are in regular contact to avoid accidental clashes breaking out.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting China, Japan and South Korea next week, and will try to diffuse tensions over the issue, senior U.S. administration officials said.

U.S. officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday’s Chinese flight, which Xinhua described as “normal air patrols” in the new air defense zone Beijing has declared.

The article said 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.”

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

US Affirms Support for Japan in Islands Dispute With China.

WASHINGTON — The United States pledged support for ally Japan on Wednesday in a growing dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea and senior U.S. administration officials accused Beijing of behavior that had unsettled its neighbors.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured his Japanese counterpart in a phone call that the two nations’ defense pact covered the small islands where China established a new airspace defense zone last week and commended Tokyo “for exercising appropriate restraint,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

China’s declaration raised the stakes in a territorial standoff between Beijing and Tokyo over the area, which includes the tiny uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

The United States defied China’s demand that airplanes flying near the islands identify themselves to Chinese authorities, flying two unarmed B-52 bombers over the islands on Tuesday without informing Beijing.

It was a sharp reminder to China that the United States still maintains a large military presence in the region despite concerns among U.S. allies that President Barack Obama’s “pivot to Asia” strategy has borne little fruit.

In a previously announced trip, Vice President Joe Biden will visit China, Japan, and South Korea next week. He will seek to ease tensions heightened by China’s declaration, senior administration officials said.

Washington does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands but recognizes that Tokyo has administrative control over them and the United States is therefore bound to defend Japan in the event of an armed conflict.

Some experts say the Chinese move was aimed at eroding Tokyo’s claim to administrative control over the area.

China’s Defense Ministry said it had monitored the U.S. bombers on Tuesday. A Pentagon spokesman said the planes had not been observed or contacted by Chinese aircraft.


In a conference call with reporters, senior U.S. administration officials said China’s declaration raised serious concerns about its intentions.

“It causes friction and uncertainty, it constitutes a unilateral change to the status quo in the region, a region that’s already fraught. And it increases the risk of miscalculation and accidents,” one of the officials said.

China’s declaration of a defense zone affects not only Japan but aircraft from other countries throughout the world that routinely fly over the area.

The U.S. government has advised U.S. airlines to take necessary steps to operate safely over the East China Sea.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was trying to determine whether China’s new rules apply to commercial airlines in addition to military aircraft.

Asked whether U.S. carriers would advise Chinese officials of their flight plans, Psaki said, “I wouldn’t go that far, we’re still looking at it.”

Biden will raise the issue of the defense zone directly with policymakers in Beijing, the official said. “It also allows the vice president to make the broader point that there’s an emerging pattern of behavior that is unsettling to China’s own neighbors.”

The official said it raised questions about “how China operates in international space and how China deals with areas of disagreement with its neighbors.”

The Pentagon signaled that more military flights into the defense zone claimed by China can be expected.

Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, told Reuters, “We’ll continue to conduct operations in the region, as we have” in the past. He declined to offer details on timing.

In addition to the U.S. B-52 flights on Tuesday, flights of Japan’s main airline similarly ignored Chinese authorities while flying through the zone.

Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings said they had stopped giving flight plans and other information to Chinese authorities following a request from the Japanese government.

Both said they had not experienced any problems when passing through the zone. Japan’s aviation industry association said it had concluded there was no threat to passenger safety by ignoring the Chinese demands, JAL said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

US Warns Airlines to Take Precautions Over East China Sea.

The United States said on Wednesday it had advised U.S. airlines to take necessary steps to operate safely over the East China Sea as tensions between ally Japan and China increase over new airspace defense zone rules imposed by Beijing.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States was trying to determine whether the new rules, which require airplanes flying near contested islands to identify themselves to Chinese authorities, apply to commercial airlines in addition to military aircraft.

“We’re attempting to determine whether the new rules apply to civil aviation and commercial air flight,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing.

“In the meantime U.S. air carriers are being advised to take all steps they consider necessary to operate safely in the East China Sea,” she said, adding: “obviously the safety of airplanes is key … and we’re looking into what this means.”

Asked whether U.S. carriers would advise Chinese officials of their flight plans, Psaki said: “I wouldn’t go that far, we’re still looking at it.”

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns is set to meet Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin in Washington on Wednesday. Psaki said the meeting was planned long in advance.

The United States defied China’s new rules on Tuesday by flying two unarmed B-52 bombers through the contested airspace. Pentagon officials said the bombers were on a routine training mission.

The new rules mean aircraft have to report flight plans to China, maintain radio contact and reply promptly to identification inquiries and display clear markings of their nationality and registration.

Psaki said on Tuesday that the United States, which has long encouraged ally Japan and China to resolve the territorial dispute through diplomacy, did not apply its air defense identification zone procedures to foreign aircraft and neither should others.

“The United States does not apply that procedure to foreign aircraft so it is certainly one we don’t think others should apply,” Psaki said.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will raise the issue during a visit to Beijing next week, senior U.S. officials said. Biden is set to visit China, Japan and South Korea during a week-long trip.

Senior administration officials providing information on the grounds their names not be used said Biden intends to press Beijing policymakers on the “unsettling” pattern of how they deal with neighbors.

The officials said Biden will make it clear the U.S. has a “rock-solid commitment” to its allies in the region. Biden plans to visit allies Japan and South Korea during the visit from Dec. 1-8.

Two U.S. military aircraft have flown around disputed islands in the East China Sea without informing China, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, defying China’s declaration that the region falls into a new airspace defense zone.

“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus. We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies,” spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said, using the Japanese name for the islands.

There was no Chinese response, Warren said.

China published coordinates for an “East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone” over the weekend and warned it would take “defensive emergency measures” against aircraft that failed to identify themselves properly in the airspace.

The zone covers most of that sea and includes the skies over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Japan.

The United States and close ally Japan have sharply criticized the move, with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel calling it a “destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.” He said on Saturday the United States would not change how it operates in the region.

The White House said that the dispute between China and Japan over the islands should be solved diplomatically.

“The policy announced by the Chinese over the weekend is unnecessarily inflammatory,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters in California, where President Barack Obama is traveling.

“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.

Experts said the Chinese move was aimed at chipping away at Tokyo’s claim to administrative control over the area, including the tiny uninhabited islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

While Washington does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands, it recognizes that Japan has administrative control over them and is therefore bound by treaty to defend Japan in the event of an armed conflict.

The Pentagon said the flights took place on Monday evening Eastern Standard Time and “involved two aircraft flying from Guam and returning to Guam” on a training mission.

Warren said the U.S. military aircraft were neither observed nor were contacted by the Chinese aircraft.

China’s Defense Ministry said on Monday it had lodged protests with the U.S. and Japanese embassies in Beijing over the criticism from Washington and Tokyo of the zone.

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this story.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Newsmax Wires

China Says It Monitored Defiant US Bomber Flights.

BEIJING — China said Wednesday it monitored two unarmed U.S. bombers that flew over the East China Sea in defiance of Beijing’s declaration it is exercising greater military control over the area.

Tuesday’s flight of the B-52 bombers underscored U.S. assertions that it will not comply with Chinese demands that aircraft flying through its newly declared maritime air defense zone identify themselves and accept Chinese instructions.

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A Chinese Defense Ministry statement Wednesday said the planes were detected and monitored as they flew through the zone for two hours and 22 minutes. It said all aircraft flying through the zone would be monitored, but made no mention of a threat to take “defensive emergency measures” against noncompliant aircraft that was included in an announcement on Saturday.

“China has the capability to exercise effective control over the relevant airspace,” said the brief statement, attributed to an unidentified ministry spokesman.

Asked repeatedly about the incident at a regularly scheduled briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said it had been handled according to procedures laid out in the Saturday statement but offered no specifics.

“Different situations will be dealt with according to that statement,” Qin said.

The United States described the flights as a training mission and said they were not flown in response to China’s move to assert its claim of sovereignty over a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan.

U.S. officials said the two B-52 bombers took off from their home base in Guam around midday and were in the zone that encompasses the disputed islands for less than an hour before returning to their base, adding the aircraft encountered no problems.

The bomber flights came after State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said China’s move appeared to be an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea.

“This will raise regional tensions and increase the risk of miscalculation, confrontation and accidents,” she told reporters.

The United States, which has hundreds of military aircraft based in the region, has said it has no intention of complying with the new Chinese demands. Japan likewise has called the zone invalid, unenforceable and dangerous, while Taiwan and South Korea, both close to the United States, also rejected it.

Australia also said it called in the Chinese ambassador to express concern about the sudden zone declaration.

“The timing and the manner of China’s announcement are unhelpful in light of current regional tensions, and will not contribute to regional stability,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement.

Beijing’s move fits a pattern of putting teeth behind its territorial claims and is seen as potentially leading to dangerous encounters depending on how vigorously China enforces it — and how cautious it is when intercepting aircraft from Japan, the U.S. and other countries.

Chinese reaction to the bomber flights was predictably angry, with some recalling the 2001 collision between a Chinese fighter and a U.S. surveillance plane in international airspace off China’s southeastern coast — the kind of accident some fear China’s new policy could make more likely.

The Chinese pilot, Wang Wei, was killed in the crash and the U.S. crew forced to make a landing on China’s Hainan island, where they were held for 10 days and repeatedly interrogated before being released.

“Let’s not repeat the humiliation of Wang Wei. Make good preparations to counterattack,” wrote Zheng Daojin, a reporter with the official Xinhua News Agency on his Twitter-like Weibo microblog.

Businessman Li Pengliang said the island dispute had heightened anti-Japanese sentiment, but doubted the chances of an open conflict.

“The public is outraged, but I still believe that the leaders in power are sober minded. They will not act on impulse,” Li said.

Still others criticized the government’s handling of what they termed a battle of psychological pressure and international public opinion. “China is terrible at telling its side of the story.

The silent one is the loser so why don’t they better explain our response to the American bomber flight,” wrote Hu Xijin, editor of the nationalist tabloid Global Times, on his blog.

It wasn’t clear whether Beijing had anticipated the forceful response from Washington and others, or how well it is prepared to back up its demands.

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Chinese scholars, who often serve as ad-hoc government spokesmen, criticized Tuesday’s flights as a crude show of force and said Beijing wasn’t looking for a fight.

“It’s not that China didn’t want to enforce its demands, but how do you expect China to react?” said Zhu Feng, an international security expert at Peking University.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

US Defies China’s Fly Zone with B-52 Flight.

Image: US Defies China's Fly Zone with B-52 Flight

Tuesday, 26 Nov 2013 09:38 PM

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Two American B-52 bombers flew over a disputed area of the East China Sea without informing Beijing, challenging China’s claims to an expanded air defense zone, officials said Tuesday.

The flight of the giant, long-range Stratofortress planes sent a clear warning that Washington would push back against what it considers an aggressive stance by Beijing in the region.

The move also signaled staunch US support for Japan, which has been locked in a mounting feud with Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

The unarmed bombers took off from Guam on Monday on a scheduled flight, as part of what defense officials insisted was a routine exercise dubbed “Coral Lightning Global Power Training Sortie.”

“Last night we conducted a training exercise that was long-planned. It involved two aircraft flying from Guam and returning to Guam,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporters.

Although China has insisted it has a right to police the skies over the area, no flight plan was submitted beforehand to the Chinese and the mission went ahead “without incident,” Warren said.

The two aircraft spent “less than an hour” in China’s unilaterally-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and did not encounter Chinese planes, he said.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to AFP the two US planes were B-52 bombers.

The military flight carried important symbolism as it came a week before US Vice President Joe Biden‘s scheduled trip to China, Japan and South Korea next month.

China announced the expanded air defense zone amid a sovereignty dispute with Japan over the island chain in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

The area also includes waters claimed by Taiwan and South Korea, which also have both denounced Beijing’s move.

Without taking sides in the territorial argument, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called on China and Japan to negotiate an end to their dispute.

Ban on Tuesday said tensions should be handled “amicably through dialogue and negotiations.”

Under the rules declared by China, aircraft are expected to provide a flight plan, clearly mark their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication to allow them to respond to identification queries from Chinese authorities.

Pentagon officials said the United States views the area as international air space and American military aircraft would operate in the zone as before without submitting flight plans to China in advance.

Japan, the United States and several other governments promptly rejected China’s announced air defense zone after it was announced Saturday.

The US State Department renewed its criticism Tuesday, saying China’s action appeared to be an attempt to “unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea.”

The move “will raise regional tensions and increase the risk of miscalculation, confrontation and accidents,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

Australia summoned Beijing’s ambassador to express its opposition and Japanese airlines said Wednesday they had stopped following China’s new rules.

The reversal came after pressure from the Japanese government, which insisted China’s announcement was invalid, and after governments around the world lined up alongside Tokyo.

France and Germany each expressed concern and urged restraint on all sides.

“We are committed to a peaceful resolution through dialogue to this dispute, in accordance with international law,” French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said.

The territorial dispute over the islands has simmered for decades but in September 2012, Japan nationalized three of the islands, in what it portrayed as an attempt to avoid a more inflammatory step by a nationalist politician.

Beijing, however, accuses Tokyo of disturbing the status quo, and has sent ships and planes to the islands in a show of force.

In response, Japan has mobilized vessels and aircraft, raising fears the tensions could trigger an accidental clash.

Beyond the East China Sea, Beijing has taken an assertive approach to a number of territorial disputes, particularly in the strategic South China Sea.

In response to China’s growing military might and influence, the United States has sought to shift its strategic focus to Asia, planning to expand America’s military presence across the Pacific.

But a spate of crises in the Middle East and budget woes have often hampered Washington’s attempt at a so-called “pivot” to the Asia-Pacific.

© AFP 2013


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