China has scrambled fighter jets over the disputed islands in East China Sea to monitor US and Japanese planes as they flew in its newly declared air defense zone.
The zone covers territory claimed by China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
China said last week that all aircraft crossing through the zone must file flight plans and identify themselves or face “defensive emergency measures”.
The US, Japan and South Korea say they have since defied the ruling and flown military aircraft in the area.
China’s newly declared air defense identification zone (ADIZ) covers a vast area of the East China Sea and includes a group of islands which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.
South Korea claims ownership of a submerged rock, known as Ieodo, within the zone.
The establishment of the ADIZ has caused widespread anger, with the US calling it a “destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region”.
On Thursday, China had announced it was deploying warplanes in the area as a “defensive measure” and to carry out routine surveillance.
Then on Friday, Air Force spokesman Colonel Shen Jinke said Chinese warplanes had been scrambled that morning to identify two US surveillance aircraft and 10 Japanese planes – including early warning aircraft, surveillance aircraft and fighter jets – crossing through the ADIZ, state media reports.
Col. Shen Jinke made no reference to whether any further action was taken by any of the aircraft.
Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China had a right to patrol the region and that it the ADIZ was not aimed at any specific country.
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