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US says commercial flights should observe Chinese air zone

Publication Date : 30-11-2013


The US State department is advising the country’s commercial carriers to comply with China’s requirements if they were to fly through the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) Beijing established last weekend.

While stressing that the directive should not be construed as acceptance of the controversial zone, Washington says that it “generally expects” US carriers that operate internationally to heed notices issued by foreign countries.

“Our expectation of operations by US carriers… does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the State Department said yesterday in a statement titled “China’s declared ADIZ - Guidance for US Air Carriers”.

The announcement comes at the end of a week that has seen tensions escalate in the East China Sea and is in sharp contrast to the earlier decision by Tokyo to instruct its commercial carriers to disregard the Chinese requirements.

According to the AFP, the Pentagon earlier indicated that American military forces would continue normal operations, despite China scrambling fighter jets to monitor US and Japanese aircraft in the area.

"We have flights routinely transiting international airspace throughout the Pacific, including the area China is including in their ADIZ," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, according to the AFP.

"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."

Japan, South Korea, the United States and other countries have accused Beijing of increasing regional tensions with the air defense zone. But the scrambling of "several combat aircraft" by China, including at least two fighter jets - according to state news agency Xinhua - threatens to escalate the situation.

"Several combat aircraft were scrambled to verify the identities" of US and Japanese aircraft entering the air defense zone, Xinhua said, quoting air force spokesman Shen Jinke.

The Chinese aircraft identified two US surveillance aircraft and 10 Japanese aircraft, including an F-15 warplane, Shen said.



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