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U.S. Warplanes Fly Unimpeded over Disputed Islands
November 25, 2013

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The United States responded directly to China's recent airspace defense zone encompassing a group of disputed islands by flying two military aircraft through the area without filing a flight plan beforehand.

China had announced that it would require advance notice of any aircraft flying over the islands or the waters surrounding them, in the East China Sea, and that failure to provide such notice would result in a noted response. A map, clearly showing the islands within the zone, accompanied the announcement.

The announcement from the U.S. referred to the islands by the name used by the Japanese Government, Senkaku, rather than the name used by the Chinese Government, Diaoyu. The planes flew on a training mission, to and from Guam, that had been planned well before China's announcement, the U.S. said.

Despite the B-52 flights, the U.S. continued to insist on a diplomatic resolution to the dispute, which has stretched for more than a year in its most incarnation but dates back much further in overall ownership terms.

Meanwhile, China sent its aircraft carrier and a few other military ships to patrol the South China Sea, where another territorial dispute has arisen, with the Philippines.

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