China warns foreign planes entering defense zone

The AP reports taht China said Friday it has begun issuing warnings to foreign military planes entering its self-declared air defense zone over the East China Sea amid heightened tensions with its neighbors, especially Japan.

Chinese state media quoted air force spokesman Shen Jinke as saying several kinds of Chinese planes recently patrolled the sweeping zone that was declared in November. He said the planes identified several foreign military aircraft, flew alongside them and issued them warnings. He didn’t identify the planes or say when the patrol was conducted.

The zone is a “purely defensive measure that conforms to international practice,” Shen said.

The U.S., Japan and other countries denounced the zone’s declaration in November as provocative and said they would ignore China’s demands that their military aircraft announce flight plans, identify themselves and follow Chinese instructions. China has said it would take unspecified measures against aircraft that disobey.

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