BEIJING – China seemed to behaving its way after it scrambledfighter jets to investigate US andJapanese airplanes that enteredits new air defense identificationzone in the East China Sea onSaturday.The US asked the country’s airlinesto comply with China’sinstructions about their flightplans. Japan, which had earlierasked its carriers to disregardthe new Chinese law, is expectedto follow suit.China upgraded its monitoringof the zone by sending fightersinstead of depending on remoteobservation. This is the firsttime since the declaration of thezone on November 23 that thePLA has scrambled its fighters.Japan had taken similar actionsome months back whenChinese warplanes flew near thedisputed Diaoyu Islands in theEast China Sea.”China’s air force has faithfullycarried out its mission and taskssince it was tasked withpatrolling the East China Sea airdefense identification zone,”PLA airforce spokesman ShenJinke said.The new Chinese ADIZ coversthe Japan-controlled Diaoyuislands and overlaps with similarair defense zones of Japan andSouth Korea. Many suspect thatthe ADIZ is part of a Chinesestrategy to strengthen its claimsover the disputed Diaoyuislands.Chinese officials have retortedsaying it was similar to theADIZ maintained by Japan, theUS and European nations,which is to serve as an earlywarning system for aircraft inthe zone.In Washington, US officials saidthey were examining if theADIZ covered commercialplanes or was restricted to militaryplanes. Chinese law expectsall aircraft to inform Beijingbefore entering the zone.
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