Valdosta Daily Times

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November 29, 2013

China sends warplanes into air defense zone


BAGHDAD — But when tested just days later by U.S. B-52 flights ‚— with Washington saying it made no effort to comply with China's rules, and would not do so in the future ‚— Beijing merely noted, belatedly, that it had seen the flights and taken no further action.

South Korea's military said Thursday its planes flew through the zone this week without informing China and with no —parent interference. J—an also said its planes have been continuing to fly through it after the Chinese announcement, while the Philippines, locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with Beijing over South China Sea islands, said it also was rejecting China's declaration.

Analysts question China's technical ability to enforce the zone due to a shortage of early warning radar aircraft and in-flight refueling c—ability. However, many believe that China has a long-term plan to win recognition for the zone with a gradual ratcheting-up of warnings and possibly also eventual enforcement action.

"With regard to activity within the zone, nothing will h—pen ‚— for a while," said June Teufel Dreyer, a China expert at the University of Miami.  "Then the zone will become gradually enforced more strictly. The J—anese will continue to protest, but not much more, to challenge it."

That may wear down J—an and effectively change the status quo, she said.

The zone is seen primarily as China's latest bid to bolster its claim over a string of uninhabited J—anese-controlled islands in the East China Sea ‚— known as Senkaku in J—an and Diaoyu in China. Beijing has been ratcheting up its sovereignty claims since Tokyo's nationalization of the islands last year.

But the most immediate spark for the zone likely was J—an's threat last month to shoot down drones that China says it will send to the islands for m—ping expeditions, said Dennis Blasko, an Asia analyst at think tank CNA's China Security Affairs Group and a former Army attache in Beijing.

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