US B-52's defy Chinese no-fly zone

Interesting by-play between the Chinese and US militaries yesterday. China has recently declared air space over and around the Diaoyutai and Senkaku islands in the East China Sea as a no fly zone. U.S. and allied forces are required to identify themselves and their mission to Chinese forces before entering the zone.

But two B-52's - unarmed and with no fighter escort - overflew the no fly zone without identifying themselves.

The Hill:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday said the new no-fly zone was another example of aggressive Chinese expansion that "increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations" between Washington and China. 

"The United States is conveying these concerns to China through diplomatic and military channels, and we are in close consultation with our allies and partners in the region, including Japan," Hagel said in a statement.

The Pentagon has vowed not to comply with the restrictions set by China, saying the new no-fly zone will only inflame simmering regional tensions between China and other Asian nations. 

A majority of American operations flown in the area consist of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations and large-scale training missions with U.S allies. 

The Diaoyutai and Senkaku islands in the East China Sea have frequently been a flashpoint between China and U.S. allies in the Pacific. The area had been considered international airspace.

Last August, the Pentagon began flying unmanned surveillance missions over the small Pacific island chains as part of a defense security agreement with Japan. 

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto agreed to the drone operations after a bilateral meeting in Washington.

The point has been made, but I wouldn't push it. The next time, China may scramble some fighters or perhaps even take a shot at our planes. The latter isn't likely but China has shown itself to be dead serious about their claim to these islands. They apparently see the issue as an opportunity to flex their military muscle, threatening both Japan and the Philippines in the process.

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