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China sends another patrol to East China Sea air defense zone

Chinese military planes are displayed in the People’s Liberation Army Aviation Museum in Beijing. China’s air force began patrolling disputed waters in the East China Sea in November, leading to tensions with Japan. Photo by Mark Ralston/Getty Images

Another Chinese air force patrol has been dispatched to the country’s much-debated Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea, according to a Reuters report.

Air force spokesman Shen Jinke said that the patrol’s role is entirely defensive and that the planes will “monitor, identify, track and warn” foreign military aircraft that enter the ADIZ, conforming to international practices. Flights by international airlines have not been affected, he said.

This patrol is another in a string of controversial moves by China since it established the ADIZ last November. The United States, Europe and Japan have said that the zone is “provocative” and “exacerbates tensions between Beijing and Tokyo,” Reuters reports.

Japan released a new national security strategy last month, which notes new “‘gray-zone’ situations” in the Asia-Pacific region and plans “a comprehensive architecture for responding seamlessly to an array of situations.” Breaking Defense analyzed the new plan.

In December, Gwen Ifill spoke with two former State Department officials, Kurt Campbell and Susan Shirk, about the rising tensions between Japan and China.

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