US Bombers Challenge China’s Air Defense Identification Zone


U.S. bombers challenged China’s recently established Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a report citing U.S. defense officials, the WSJ said that American B-52 bombers flew over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands on Monday without informing Beijing ahead of time. The report said that the bombers took off from Anderson Air Force Base in Guam and entered into China’s new ADIZ around 7 PM local time on Monday. They were not armed or accompanied by any escort planes.

America maintained that the B-52s flight was part of a long-planned exercise called Coral Lightning.

Still, the flight represented a clear challenge to China, which announced it was establishing an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Saturday morning. It later said that Chinese planes had begun patrolling the area.

As expected, the move to establish an ADIZ drew sharp rebukes from both Japan and the United States, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel saying that the United States views “this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region.” Hagel added that “This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.”

In the official Pentagon press release, Hagel went on to say that “This announcement by the People’s Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.” Japan also said that it would not comply with the rules that Beijing announced it would be enforcing in the airspace covered by the ADIZ, which includes the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands and overlaps with Japan’s own ADIZ. Tokyo also scrambled fighter jets in response to China’s patrols over the airspace.

China quickly responded to both Japan and the Pentagon’s comments. Toward the latter, Beijing called on the Pentagon to uphold Washington’s promise that it would not take sides on sovereignty disputes, and asked it to “stop making irresponsible comments.”

There has been some dispute among defense experts about whether China has the capability to actually enforce its conditions. Defense News quoted an unnamed U.S. defense industry source located in Asia as saying, “Let China run itself crazy trying to enforce this. I just can’t see how China will sustain the enforcement. Too much traffic goes through there. If no country recognizes it, [and] don’t respond to China’s IFF [identification friend or foe] interrogation or VID [visual identification], then this new ADIZ is meaningless.”

Notably, China’s announcement also won it the ire of South Korea, one of the few states in the region that Beijing had thus far avoided offending over sovereignty issues in the past few years. According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s new ADIZ overlaps with about 3,000 square kilometers of South Korea’s own ADIZ. It also encloses Ieodo (Suyan) Rock that South Korea administers but China also claims. Seoul and Beijing will discuss the issue an already scheduled vice defense ministerial-level strategic dialogue in the South Korean capital this week.

December 13, 2013 at 17:54

Seems like China is painting itself into a corner by ruffling the feathers of all its neighbors, so now that they been given tit-for-tat in the sense that it has proven to them that they cannot enforce their ADIZ, what would be their next option, escalation by taking hostile action? Won’t backing down now make China lose face. I foresee a radical change in the leadership of China as a means to salvage what little it has left of its credibility so that it can find another avenue of peaceful resolution because China has the most to lose if armed conflict ensues in this region as most of its foreign invests are with those it is trying to dominate.

December 12, 2013 at 01:31

It’s funny all china has to is be patient and wait for there Economy to be #1 but it seems they are too impatient have an axe to grind and simply can’t wait to start making anyone they felt wronged them pay back. I would say Japan is first on the chopping block

December 12, 2013 at 01:07

Do you really think they are going to forgo mad. I would put money on the us winning that exchange, china doesn’t have a first strike policy, the us has the missile defence shield, china only has a few hundred nukes. Im sure you think china could win it. Okay yeah I’m cheering the blue team your cheering the red team but honestly does anyone really want to play that game

December 11, 2013 at 05:17

The Economist issue dated November 30, 2013 page 39 stated that US B-52s did enter deep into the so called china new ADIZ and flew over the disputed islands. It also stated that Japan and South Korea sent several airplanes into the same area and china could not do anything to stop but more hot air such as “regrettable”.

More public shame and humiliation for china and chinese, especially clueless and ignorant chinese posters in here with Western names. Too shameful to use your own chinese names?

nickon mbatina
December 11, 2013 at 04:55

xo fun how us and sino citizens justify their superiority

9 dashes, 4 dishes, 1 soup
December 8, 2013 at 19:56

So, the question needs to be asked. Did Xi know about this ADIZ in advance? It seems to contradict what he told Obama in mid-June at the ‘Shirt Sleeves Summit’.
“During the summit, Xi suggested the development of a “new type” of relations between the U.S. and China, described in three phases: “no conflict and confrontation”, “mutual respect”, and “cooperation toward win-win results”. Additionally, Xi laid out a four-point proposal which emphasized: 1) the need for the two sides to elevate the level of dialogue and institutionalize the meetings held between the two sides at multilateral venues; 2) Washington should take active steps to relax restrictions on hi-tech exports to China; 3) the two sides need to maintain close coordination and collaboration on hotspot issues such as the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, piracy, transnational crimes, peacekeeping tasks, disaster relief, cyber security, climate change, and space security; and 4) the two sides need to find a new way to manage their differences and actively foster a new type of military relations in accordance with the new type of inter-power ties…”

So barely two weeks after the summit, the PLAN was confronting & harassing the USNS Impeccable once again – in spite of Xi’s announcement. And now we have the confrontation over the ADIZ.

Either Xi cannot control the PLA or else he was lying to Obama. Take your pick. Either one you choose is bad news.

December 5, 2013 at 06:01


December 4, 2013 at 07:58

In a state of total war (a war in which countries sought to DESTROY one another, instead of making the enemy SURRENDER), weapons of mass destruction will be used. As of 2013, the United States officially holds around 5,000 armed & active nuclear weapons, most of which are ICBMS (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) that have a range exceeding 10,000 km. This does not include warheads that are technically considered “inactive”. China, on the other hand, currently holds 240 nuclear weapons, 180 of which are active. And of the 180, only about half of them are ready for immediate deployment; the People’s Liberation Army allowed much of its silos to decay & go without maintenance due to politburo (government) corruption. Also, an OVERWHELMING majority of China’s missiles are medium range ICBMs, meaning that they can’t really hit vital U.S. facilities. Also, the Chinese anti nuclear defense systems have their structural schematics based from the American NORAD facility; In terms of nuclear DEFENSE, the U.S. would hold the edge. U.S. missiles can land in China within 10 minutes; China, on the other hand, does not have missile silos with the same reaction rate, nor can it send its nuclear vessels out in time. What China can promise is that if the U.S. fails to strike all vital military installations during the first strike, it could send a few missiles into U.S. soil. Unfortunately, this isn’t a system of M.A.D. (mutually assured destruction), but a form of last ditch revenge. At the end of it all, the U.S. may receive some damage and millions in casualties, but China wold be destroyed. Thus, in a state of TOTAL WAR with no restriction, the U.S. holds a huge advantage.

Quoted from other.

December 4, 2013 at 12:37

You miscalculate the Russians. Where does Russia locate? You don’t think attack China is not a threat to Russians national security? Think again! I am sure US will be victory with heavy price to pay, not amount of money and time can be fixed the disaster. The roaster will come back to roost this time.

December 4, 2013 at 19:15

You are taking the article quoted by KDL seriously. Don’t. That article is a juvenile piece of joke – something a brainy 12 year old kid wouldn’t bother to write. In a full-blown intercontinental nuclear war, there will be no winners. Even as mad and stupid as the mafia state America has become, the mafia bosses don’t have the guts to go nuclear with China, even if China wipes out major japanese cities and US military bases in Asia with neutron bombs.

December 4, 2013 at 18:39

@ KDL, the US doesn’t know a thing about the real number of China’s nuclear warheads. Given the pathetic track record of US intelligence, its estimates deserve no credence whatsoever.

December 4, 2013 at 23:08

Ballistic ranges are a good rule of thumb, but they discount the larger threat of sub-launched warheads — and the far more sinister threat of suitcase nukes.

MAD still very much applies, and it’s a doctrine that isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

The more interesting question is this: What sort of naval confrontation — short of a nuclear exchange will end up re-writing the power balance of the 21st century. The battle for the pacific — as a new cold war — has already begun.

December 3, 2013 at 23:34

Dear china,

We will have a large military exercise in the same area/zone with our ally, Japan very soon. What are you going to do about it? Please don’t send out pilots that do not know how to fly and crash their jets into us like you guys did a few years ago. Just watch helplessly like before and then send out the 50 cents army members to declare that you “won”….LOL.

PS. Please send out some smart 50 cents army members. The ones you have right now are not too bright. How about give them a big raise to 55 cents?

December 4, 2013 at 19:20

Yawnnnn. Too lame, Obsurder. Perhaps you should sign up for a few remedial English writing classes. Have you finished your school homework for the day?

December 5, 2013 at 05:17

Haha..You admitted you are one of those 50 centers in responding to Observer’s comment on the “smart” wumao. Did you earn your 55cents on that one?

December 3, 2013 at 15:10

So we have reports from numerous news sources that stated US B-52s did fly over the islands and deep inside the zone that china demanded everyone must notify them. Don’t take my words for it, look up Global Times and People Daily (the mouthpieces of the CCP).

Bully china could not do anything but watch helplessly and then send out the 50 cents army members to save face by saying “but..but..but.. the B-52s did not enter the air space”.

How sad and pathetic, All bark like a dog but no bite.

December 3, 2013 at 19:51

LOL @ Abserver. You sure are getting desperate. First you were barking about how China was threatening every country in Asia, but now you are barking about how China can’t even do a thing about the ADIZ. Didn’t your propaganda training include some lectures on how to avoid contradict yourself? LOL. There are plenty of sources (including China’s Ministry of Defense, I think that’s official) stating that the B-52s didn’t fly over Diaoyu islands. Why did you omit and ignore those sources? Inconvenient truth? LOL.

December 3, 2013 at 19:52

edit: “how to avoid CONTRADICTING yourself …”

December 4, 2013 at 01:12

Seriously. Only losers laugh at their own jokes. Or did they not teach you that in propaganda school?

December 5, 2013 at 01:58

B-52′s flew over Japanese Airspace of Senkaku Islands.

December 11, 2013 at 06:31

@ david,

When someone attacked the US, they will die, sooner or later. See Bin Ladin.

When someone attacked chinese, china would not dare to do anything but suffer in silent and humiliation. Use Google and look up “russian navy shot chinese ship” (without the quotes). Russia is still holding over 600 thousands kilometers square of land that they took from china since 1850s after they slaughtered scores of chinese. Nothing from china and chinese. Not a beep, not a word of “undisputable territories” or “historic evidences” and other bullcraps.

You were saying something about worthy opponent? What is the matter?

December 8, 2013 at 04:30

@ Observer.

How sad and pathetic, All bark like a dog but no bite.

> Oh, but we can say the same thing for the U.S.

Always bombing small countries and weak countries, BUT AS SOON as you fight against an worthy opponent, all your technology and tactics just fly out the window.

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