China Sends Fighter Jets To Patrol Disputed Air Space


China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force has sent Su-30 and J-11 fighter jets and airborne radar to its newly claimed Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. Countries usually impose ADIZ slightly outside their sovereign airspace where they require foreign aircraft to identify themselves. But ADIZ’s should not be claimed over other another country’s territory. China’s newly claimed air defense zone overlaps with Japan’s ADIZ. It includes the Senkaku islands claimed by Japan and South Korean reef called leodo.

China rejects South Korea’s request

On Nov. 23, China said any non-commercial aircraft entering its newly claimed zone will face defensive measures. But Japan and South Korea both have been defiant, saying that they will not notify Beijing while flying through the disputed space. To challenge China, the United States sent two B-52 bombers through the disputed airspace on Nov. 26. China monitored the unmanned U.S. bombers, but didn’t take any action. South Korean military also flew into the area without seeking permission from China.

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After sending the fighter jets, Chinese Col. Shen Jinke said the People’s Liberation Army is on high alert. On Thursday, South Korean officials asked China to rectify the boundaries of its ADIZ so that they don’t overlap with South Korean air defense zone. But the dragon rejected South Korea’s request. Experts say that China declared the new ADIZ with the intention of pushing away Japan from the disputed Senkaku islands.

Is China testing the U.S.?

But China is also trying to establish itself as a superpower. Beijing began pushing its recognized borders after president Xi Jinping took the helm in March this year. It has created a complex situation for the United States, which has extended support to almost all neighbors of China that have bitter relations with Beijing. The U.S. can’t leave its key allies such as Japan, the Philippines and South Korea in a mess.

Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt, a director at the U.S. Institute of Peace said recently that Jinping is making every move with the mindset of a superpower, exploring every opportunity to change the status quo.