China: We Watched US Cross Our Airspace

Muted response suggests it's not trying to provoke incident in East China Sea
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 27, 2013 9:41 AM CST
In this May 16, 2007 file photo, a B-52 passes overhead at the National Security Forum air demonstration at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.   (Karen S. Doerr)
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(Newser) – China acknowledged today that it let two American B-52 bombers fly unhindered through its newly declared air defense zone in the East China Sea despite its earlier threat to take defensive measures against unidentified foreign aircraft. The US flights, which tested the Chinese zone for the first time since it was declared over the weekend, raised questions about Beijing's determination to enforce its requirement that foreign aircraft identify themselves and accept Chinese instructions.

A Chinese Defense Ministry statement says the US planes were detected and monitored as they flew through the area for two hours and 22 minutes. It said all aircraft flying through the zone would be monitored and that "China has the capability to exercise effective control over the relevant airspace." But China's lack of any action suggests that it was merely playing out a diplomatic game to establish ownership over the area rather than provoke an international incident.

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