US military chiefs have insisted they will not change their operations despite China scrambling fighter jets to monitor US and Japanese aircraft in Beijing’s newly declared air defense zone.
However, the US Department of State said US commercial airlines should observe China’s demand to be given notice of aircraft entering the zone, while stating that compliance “does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements.”
China flew warplanes into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Friday, Chinese state media said, nearly a week after it announced the zone, which covers islands at the center of a dispute between Beijing and Tokyo, raising regional tensions.
A Xinhua report indicated that Japan and the US are continuing to disregard China’s demands that aircraft submit flight plans when traversing the area in the East China Sea or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures.”
“We have flights routinely transiting international airspace throughout the Pacific, including the area China is including in their ADIZ,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said on Friday. “These flights are consistent with long-standing and well-known US freedom of navigation policies that are applied in many areas of operation around the world. I can confirm that the US has and will continue to operate in the area as normal.”
Compliance by commercial flights “does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the State Department said in a statement.
Japanese airlines, under pressure from Tokyo, stopped following China’s new rules on Wednesday, after initially complying.
In its evening edition yesterday, the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said Japan’s two biggest airlines were unlikely to change their stance even after the US announcement.