News / USA

Pentagon Prepared to Defend US Planes in China Defense Zone

Luis Ramirez
— A Pentagon spokesman says the United States will not comply with China's new air defense zone in the East China Sea and is prepared to defend its aircraft that enter the region. 

Shortly after China declared it was establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel issued a statement condemning the move and saying the new Chinese policy would not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.

On Monday, Pentagon spokesman U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren made the U.S. position even clearer.

“When we fly into this aerial zone we will not register a flight plan.  We will not identify our transponder, our radio frequency, and our logo,” he said.

Those were the four things that Warren said China was now requiring of all aircraft entering the zone, which includes the Senkaku islands over which Beijing has a dispute with Japan.  

“That was not a requirement last week.  American forces could just fly through there without having to do any of those things.  We will continue not doing those things,” said the spokesman.

The United States said the area was international air space and was prepared to defend its aircraft against a Chinese attack on American military aircraft.

U.S. military aircraft that fly in the region are usually part of training exercises and are usually unarmed.

Pentagon officials said U.S. forces always maintained an ability to defend themselves, but did not specify what assets the United States was ready to use in the event of any Chinese aggression.

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