China’s navy breaks out to the high seas


The U.S. flew two B-52 bombers over disputed territory in the East China Sea, rejecting an air defense restriction from China for islands that are also claimed by Japan.

China is boosting its naval presence in the western Pacific just as tensions are rising over the disputed island chain in the East China Sea. A Reuters special report describes recent war games involving Chinese ships and submarines.

“For the first time in centuries, China is building a navy that can break out of its confined coastal waters to protect distant sea lanes and counter regional rivals,” the report says.

China and Japan are engaged in a tug-of-war over ownership of a number of rocky islands in the East China Sea. And just this week, two unarmed U.S. bombers flew over the disputed territory after China demanded that it be notified whenever planes enter the area. The U.S. Air Force didn’t give notification and China did not retaliate.

Vice President Joe Biden plans to visit China, Japan and South Korea Dec. 1-8. He is expected to raise U.S. concerns about China’s decision to establish an air defense zone over part of the East China Sea when he visits Beijing, senior administration officials said Wednesday.

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