US aircraft fly over disputed China air zone

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The Pentagon has confirmed that two US military aircraft defied Beijing by flying over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

In a bitter territorial row, China uses the name Diaoyu for the islands. Rival claimant Japan calls them the Senkaku islands.

Tension rose at the weekend when China decreed a new air defence zone covering the islands and warned of “emergency measures” unless aircraft identified themselves.

“We have conducted operations in the area of the Senkakus. We have continued to follow our normal procedures, which include
not filing flight plans, not radioing ahead and not registering our frequencies,” said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren.

He said the planes were on a regular exercise and that there was no Chinese response.

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