U.S. Rejects New Chinese Rules for Flying Through Senkakus Airspace

Military aircraft will fly through Senkakus Islands airspace with impunity, regardless of 'ADIZ.'

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, center, with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, right, and Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, left, after a signing ceremony in Tokyo on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. U
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The American military will summarily ignore a new policy China has put in place over a string of disputed islands in the East China Sea that demands all foreign aircraft to identify themselves.

The "Air Defense Identification Zone" over the Senkakus Islands (as they are known in Japan) would require that all aircraft, regardless of their purpose or country of origin, report their flight plan, transponder, radio frequency and logo to a Chinese authority before entering that airspace.

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The Chinese consider these "emergency defensive measures" to protect the islands they claim, known to them as Diaoyu.

"The U.S. military will continue conducting flight operations in the region, including with our allies and partners," said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren on Monday. "We will not in any way change how we conduct our operations as a result of this new policy."

Warren would not say how frequently U.S. military aircraft fly through this region, or if any had flown since the policy began at 10 a.m. local time on Saturday. He also would not comment on whether aircraft flying through the region would have any additional security measures.

"We always maintain the ability to defend ourselves," he said.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he is concerned by the action, claiming it will destabilize the "status quo in the region."

The island chain lies roughly 240 miles east of China, and 270 miles west of the southern Japanese islands that include Okinawa.

The threat of international conflict in the region has remained since 2001, when a U.S. Navy EP-3 intelligence aircraft collided mid-air with a Chinese fighter jet, killing the Chinese pilot in what has become known as the "The Hainan Island Incident." Diplomatic maneuvering prevented the situation from escalating militarily.

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Security experts remain concerned about the threat of similar escalation following a similar accident between Chinese and Japanese forces.

China's latest saber-rattling maneuver prompted Japan on Sunday to warn of "unpredictable events" as a result, reports AFP.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called it a "one-sided action which leads up to assume the danger of unpredictable events on the spot."

China rebuffed this on Monday, according to state-sponsored news service Xinhua.

"The Japanese side is not entitled to make irresponsible remarks and malicious accusations against China," said Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang. The establishment of an ADIZ is a "normal move in the world and accords with international laws and practices," Xinhua reports.

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