China has admitted scrambling fighters to intercept American and Japanese planes flying over the Senkaku islands, and has been sailing its sole carrier into disputed waters as well.
China says it scrambled fighters into the airspace around the disputed Senkaku islands to intercept and identify US and Japanese planes, noting it found there to be 10 planes present, including US surveillance and early warning planes, and Japanese fighters.
China apparently took no further action against this brazen violation of its sacred Diaoyu territory.
China’s English language state media has demanded “timely countermeasures without hesitation against Japan” should they “impudently” continue violating Chinese airspace, along with retaliatory violations of its air defence zone (although with Chinese ships, submarines and planes already freely violating Japanese territory for some time this is apparently already the case).
They are however plainly a little spooked by the prospect of having to deal with the USA, cravenly offering the USA an out: “If the US does not go too far, we will not target it in safeguarding our air defence zone.”
Meanwhile Australia can be “ignored” and South Korea can hopefully be co-opted at some point as they “understand” they have their own disagreements with Japan.
South Korea also joined the USA and Japan in protesting against China’s establishment of the zone, only to be ignored, whilst similar complaints from Australia resulted in China warning them that their “irresponsible” remarks could result in damage to Sino-Australian relations.
America’s B52 “training mission” over the islands was followed by both unannounced Japanese and South Korean military flights through the zone, although as Japan always maintained a military presence around the islands so it is not clear there is anything new about this except in its obvious timing.
Although still maintaining nobody sane could possibly object to it setting up an air defence zone over what is manifestly Chinese territory, China has stepped back from demanding all international civilian flights passing through the area identify themselves to the Chinese military, saying “the East China Sea air defence identification zone is not aimed at normal international flights.”
China is also reportedly sending its hand-me-down carrier the Liaoning (derisively called a “museum” by one US naval official) into its notoriously tenuous maritime claims in the South China Sea, prompting complaints from the Philippines as it passed through their waters.