News / Asia

US B-52 Bombers Challenge China Air Defense Zone

US Warplanes Defy China Air Defense Zonei
November 27, 2013 6:41 AM
The U.S. military has made clear its position on China's new aviation restricted zone by flying two bombers through the area. China recently restricted air space in part of the East China Sea to assert its claim over a group of disputed islands. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Watch related video from VOA's Luis Ramirez.
VOA News
The U.S. military has flown two unarmed B-52 bombers near disputed islands in the East China Sea, defying an attempt by China to wrest control of the territory from Japan.
China's defense ministry said Wednesday it monitored "the entire course of the flights and identified them in a timely way." It warned "China is capable of exercising effective control" over the area.
The Pentagon said the Monday flights did not trigger an immediate response from Beijing, which two days earlier declared the airspace part of a new air defense zone. China warned all aircraft to identify themselves before entering the area and to obey all orders from Beijing. 
U.S. officials described the Monday flights as part of long-planned and routine training missions, but analysts say it was a clear message that Washington will not recognize China's attempt to establish control over the area.
Ralph Cossa of the Hawaii-based Pacific Forum told VOA the B-52 flights were a "quick and appropriate" response to what is seen by many as a Chinese escalation.
"I think it was important to quickly demonstrate that we were not going to essentially allow the Chinese to start carving out international airspace that others cannot use," said Cossa.
China published coordinates for the so-called East China Sea Air Identification Zone on Saturday and warned it would take emergency defense measures to enforce its claim. Now, it is unclear to what extent China will enforce the new rules.
Herman Finley, an associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center, told VOA that while it is not likely China will back down, it is probably not looking for a confrontation at this time.
"[The Chinese] push, they see what the reaction is, and then they push back when they see there's an opportunity. They've made their point. They'll wait and see when there's an appropriate, relatively predictable time to reassert their prerogatives," said Finley.
Some analysts have described the Chinese move as a miscalculation, saying it may have underestimated U.S. resolve to protect the interests of its ally, Japan.
Michael McKinley with the Australia National University told VOA that China is "pushing its luck" in this regard.
"It's attempting to see what is in the realm of the possible and the tolerable. The problem is that it's going to run into increasing resistance, particularly from those who think it would be better now rather than later to confront China with some higher form of force," said McKinley.
The flights over the uninhabited islands -- known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China -- came one week before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Beijing as part of a week-long trip to the Asia-Pacific region.
Biden is expected to voice U.S. concerns to Chinese officials about the increasingly tense situation, which comes as Beijing seeks to lay claim to large swaths of the East and South China seas.
Japan annexed the islets in the late 19th century, and China claimed sovereignty over the archipelago in 1971. Beijing linked its claims to ancient maps it says shows the territory has been Chinese for centuries.
The festering China-Japan dispute is one of several maritime controversies pitting China against Southeast Asian nations, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia.
Beijing has indicated a willingness to negotiate the disputes, but has so far rejected calls for multilateral talks. Chinese leaders would prefer separate talks with each country.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs