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Defying China, two long-range American bombers flew through contested airspace over the East China Sea, days after the Chinese announced they were claiming the right to police the sky above a vast area that includes islands at the center of a simmering dispute with Japan.
The United States, long the dominant power in the region, has been scrambling to shore up its influence there, promising, in what it called a “pivot” to Asia in 2011, to refocus its energies after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan diverted its time and resources.
Having Japan in the mix only adds volatility. The country has its own tangled history with China, which has sped past Japan as an economic power and which retains bitter memories of imperial Japan’s military invasion last century. Under its conservative leader, Shinzo Abe, Japan has refused to back down in the dispute with China over the uninhabited islands, which Japan has long controlled.
The Pentagon is building up its bases in the Pacific in an effort to survive a possible Chinese missile attack, USA Today reports.
The strategy is part of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. The Pentagon is particularly worried about threats from Chinese missiles that could limit access to the region by U.S. ships, planes, and troops.
The Pentagon invoked a U.S. defense treaty with Japan and warned China on Saturday that its declaration of an air defense zone over the East China Sea is increasing the danger of military conflict.
In 2001, a Chinese interceptor jet collided with a U.S. EP-3 surveillance flight near the same region, setting off a crisis.
The Chinese pilot was killed when his aircraft crashed in the East China Sea. The U.S. crew made an emergency landing and was held captive by the Chinese until being released later.
reply to post by Zaphod58
What, and you think Japan and the US would put lives at risk playing chicken ?
I'd think they'd test the resolve of the Chinese with an unmanned plane first, don't ya think.edit on 27-11-2013 by ken10 because: (no reason given)
reply to post by Snarl
I would bet the pucker factor of the B-52 crew members was rather high. Best way to test a bully is to stand your ground but you have to wonder what would have happened if China would have taken a swing ? Probably allot of hand ringing and diplomatic channels burning the midnight oil, no ? Saber rattling even if the crews had been killed. I suppose it was necessary but China really has most of the cards until we can move serious non nuclear assets into the area. Guess the big boys are happy we now have a new foe and gobs and gobs of money can be thrown at the problem. Let's wait and see if the U.S. or Japan start a regular fly through of the area.. Then we will see something maybe ? Can not see the Military boys in China wanting to lose face like that would cause.... Sigh
reply to post by 727Sky
I'm awfully proud of our pilots and air crews and would like to shake the hand of the guy who ordered that mission. Do you think they selected BUFFs just to make sure that swing wasn't taken? IMO, we've let the other side get away with puffing out their chests for too long. Am glad to see a line being drawn finally.
China demonstrating their financial strength building empty cities has been on my mind.
If someone claims a region and people do not keep using it for transit, then over time maritime law says that their claim becomes valid and people can no longer transit the region. It is important for us to exercise our right of passage.
Numerous countries, including the United States and Japan, have air defense identification zones of their own. The zones are established to help countries track or monitor aircraft nearing their territories, but in this case, the zones of Japan and China overlap. Security experts worry that China’s new zone could increase the likelihood of a mishap that sparks a wider armed conflict, drawing in the United States, which is treaty-bound to protect Japan.
reply to post by ken10
An ADIZ is set up to monitor the twelve mile limit. Please, show me how this is legal, considering that they set it up over Japanese territory.