Tensions in East Asia skies
The US have joined Japan and China in leveling the tensions up in the East Asia skies. After Beijing upset the region by declaring a new air defense zone over a large part of the East China Sea, two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers flew through the area in what the U.S. State Department said was a planned military exercise. For China this appeared as a provocation and it is difficult not to think the US did this on purpose. The U.S. aircraft ignored China’s new demands that planes that fly through the zone identify themselves and submit flight plans to Chinese authorities — despite Beijing’s warnings that it could take military measures against aircraft that failed to comply. The U.S. Air Force B-52 planes — which were not armed because they were on a training mission — set off Monday from Guam and returned there without incident. The mission lasted for several hours, and the aircraft were in China’s newly declared air zone for about an hour, according to the U.S. official. The planes’ pilots did not identify themselves upon entering the disputed airspace, as China would have wanted, according to the official. The flights came two days after China unilaterally announced the creation of a “Air Defense Identification Zone” over several islands it and Japan have both claimed. The two countries have been sharply at odds over those isles, which are believed to be near large reserves of natural resources.