US operating ‘normally’ in China’s air zone

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BEIJING: United States (US) military chiefs insist they will not change their operations despite a move by China to scramble fighter jets to monitor American and Japanese aircraft in Beijing’s newly declared air defense zone.

But the State Department said US commercial airlines should observe China’s demand to be given notice of aircraft entering the zone, while stating that compliance “does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements”.

China flew warplanes into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday, Chinese state media said, nearly a week after it announced the zone, which covers islands at the center of a dispute between Beijing and Tokyo, raising regional tensions.

The Xinhua report indicated that Japan and the United States are continuing to disregard China’s demands that aircraft submit flight plans when traversing the area in the East China Sea or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures”.


“We have flights routinely transiting international airspace throughout the Pacific, including the area China is including in their ADIZ,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said on Friday.

“These flights are consistent with long-standing and well-known US freedom of navigation policies that are applied in many areas of operation around the world. I can confirm that the US has and will continue to operate in the area as normal.”

Compliance by commercial flights “does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the State Department said in a statement.

Japanese airlines, under pressure from Tokyo, stopped following China’s new rules on Wednesday, after initially complying.

The Philippines has voiced concern that China may extend control of air space over disputed areas of the South China Sea, where the two nations have a separate territorial dispute.

AFP

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