The United States sent two B-52 bombers over China’s Air Defense Zone, without notifying Beijing.
United States officials said on Tuesday, the two bombers went into a disputed area over the East China Sea challenging the country’s wish to expand its air zone.
Both countries have been at odds over China’s intentions and today’s actions are a clear indicator Washington will show Beijing that it will push back at Chinese attempts to claim the area.
The move by the United States also emphasizes the country’s strong relationship with Japan.
Americans are participating in military exercises this week and together with Japan they will challenge China to the vast portion of Ocean.
The United States and Japan have a long standing relationship dating back to after World War II and are giving China’s attempts at claiming that part of the sea a direct challenge.
On Tuesday, the United States flew the two Air Force bombers in direct defiance of Beijing’s express wishes that they be informed about such occurrence.
A United States defense official, who spoke to USA Today on condition of anonymity, says the B-52s took off from the island of Guam as part of a planned exercise.
China has claimed almost 1 million square miles off the East China Sea and says those waters belong the them, even though they reach as far as Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
The Chinese government says all the natural resources including energy and sea life are their property. The United States disputes the claim.
China said it had designated much of the sea as an air defense zone under its control, arguing it would help “guard against potential air threats.”
“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 on Tuesday.
U.S. B-52s flew over China’s newly declared air zone, official confirms. http://t.co/rV2F9JC5kg
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 26, 2013
The two aircraft spent “less than an hour” in China’s unilaterally-declared Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) and did not encounter Chinese planes, he said.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the B-52s incursion into the unilaterally claimed Chinese zone.
The United States State Department said on Tuesday the step appeared to be an attempt to “unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea.”
Pentagon officials said the United States views the area as international air space and American military aircraft would operate in the zone as it used to, without submitting flight plans to China in advance.