‘Monitored’ defiant US B-52 bombers over new air zone: China

'Monitored' defiant US B-52 bombers over new air zone ChinaBEIJING: As US B-52 bombers challenged China’s unilaterally declared new air defense zone over a disputed islands in the East China Sea, Chinese military today put up a brave face by asserting that it “monitored” the American planes as they pass through the airspace.

Reacting to unarmed American aircraft passing through the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone last night without informing China as demanded by it, a Defense Ministry spokesman said it has “detected, identified and monitored” US aircraft that flew the zone between two different times last night.

Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said the US aircraft skirted along the border of the zone and flew in the north-south direction, 200 kilometres east of Diaoyu Island, state-run China Radio International reported.

China calls the disputed islands Diaoyus while Japan terms them as Senkakus.

Yang said China has the right to identify, monitor, control and react to any flying objects in the zone, based on the rules for the rules set for identification of the aircraft while it pass through the zone announced by China on November 23.

Under the rules of the new air zone, all aircraft including the civilian flights have to report their flight plans to China and must maintain the two-way radio communications and respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquires.

Earlier, US officials said two B-52 bombers flew to the identification zone on night.

US Colonel Steve Warren at the Pentagon said Washington had “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,” Warren said.

There had been no response from China, he said.

Japan, the US and several other countries rejected the zone after it was announced over the weekend.

The US State Department yesterday said China’s action appeared to be an attempt to “unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea”.–PTI

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