Two US Air Force Boeing B-52 bombers flew over disputed islands off the coasts of Japan and China on 25 November, just days after China begin requiring aircraft flying in the area to register their flight path, according to reports.
The B-52s left Anderson Air Force Base on Guam and flew roughly 1,400nm (2,600km) to the islands in a move US defense officials described as an effort to challenge China’s decision to expand its Air Defense Identification Zone to include the islands, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The US Defense Department did not immediately respond to a request for information from Flightglobal.
China announced just days ago that it was expanding its air defense zone to include the islands, which are roughly 200nm from mainland China and 480nm from the southern coast of Japan.
Called the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China, the region is disputed by the two nations, which each claiming sovereignty.
China now requires aircraft flying over the islands to register their flight path with the foreign ministry and provide their transponder and radio frequencies, according to reports.
US officials say they challenged the zone because they don’t consider the new requirements appropriate.
China did not make contact with the B-52s, which returned to their base in Guam, according to officials cited by the Wall Street Journal.http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/us-b-52s-fly-over-contested-islands-in-apparent-challenge-to-chinese-policy-393530/