State media: China sends planes to identify flights by US and Japan in new air defense zone

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Chinese state media say China has sent two fighter planes to investigate flights by a dozen U.S. and Japanese planes in its newly established maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea.

The state-run China News quoted Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Shen Jinke as saying the Chinese fighter jets identified and monitored the two U.S. and 10 Japanese aircraft during their flights through the zone early Friday, but made no mention of any further action.

China announced last week that all aircraft entering the zone — a maritime area between China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan — must notify Chinese authorities beforehand. Neighboring countries and the U.S. have said they will not honor the new zone and have criticized the move, saying it unnecessarily raises tensions.