Japan joined the foray Wednesday and flew their planes through a new Chinese airspace defense zone.
The defiant moves by Japan and its ally the US raised ante over a territorial dispute involving Beijing and Tokyo and challenged China demarcating new air defense zone over a large part of the East China Sea.
The US has said that the bombers were on a training-mission and were not flown in defiance of China’s new defense manoeuvre. But it was still a clear indication that the US has refused to recognise China’s new territorial claims made over the weekend.
According to media reports, the two unarmed bombers took off from their home base in Guam and returned after flying through the skies claimed by China as its new air defense zone.
The bombers were in the zone for less than an hour, thundering across the Pacific skies during midday there, US officials said.
They added that the aircraft encountered no problems and were not monitored by Chinese officials.
China’s defence ministry in a statement said its “air force monitored the entire course of the US bombers, identified them in a timely way, and ascertained the type of US aircraft”.
“China will identify all aircraft activity in East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone”, it added.
“China has the ability to effectively manage and control the relevant air zone.”
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said China’s move to demarcate new air zone appeared to be an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea.
“This will raise regional tensions and increase the risk of miscalculation, confrontation and accidents,” Psaki told reporters.
At a regular briefing Wednesday, a journalist asked a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman if Beijing is concerned it will now be seen as a “paper tiger”, according to the BBC.
“I want to emphasize that the Chinese government has enough resolution and capability to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and security,” the spokesman, Qin Gang replied.