‘B-52s show Guam is strategic point’

The flight of B-52 bombers from Guam into China`s newly declared air defence zone in the East China Sea underscores the island`s importance to national security, the territory`s delegate to Congress said.

PTI| Updated: Nov 28, 2013, 09:45 AM IST

Hagatna: The flight of B-52 bombers from Guam into China`s newly declared air defence zone in the East China Sea underscores the island`s importance to national security, the territory`s delegate to Congress said.

"Our island has again shown that we are a strategic point to defend our nation`s interests and the interests of our allies in the Asia-Pacific region," Del. Madeleine Bordallo told the Pacific Daily News.

China on Saturday said all aircraft entering the new air defence zone must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey Beijing`s orders.

The zone includes a cluster of islands that are controlled by Japan but claimed by Beijing. The US and Japan have said they don`t acknowledge the zone. Taiwan and South Korea, both close to the US, also rejected it.

US officials said the two unarmed B-52 bombers took off around midday Tuesday and were in the zone that encompasses the disputed islands for less than an hour before returning to their base. They said the aircraft encountered no problems.

US officials said they received no reaction to the bomber flights from the Chinese.

The US military has been rotating bombers including the B-52, B-1 and B-2 through Guam`s Andersen Air Force Base since 2004. The move compensated for US forces diverted to fight in the Middle East.

"The strategic bomber presence in Guam is an important component of US defence capabilities in our region, and this exercise demonstrates our ability to deter aggression and our resolve to defend our allies," Bordallo said. "However it is important that any territorial disputes in the region be resolved by diplomacy and peaceful means."

A Chinese Defence Ministry statement said yesterday the US planes were detected and monitored as they flew through the area for two hours and 22 minutes. It said all aircraft flying through the zone would be monitored and that "China has the capability to exercise effective control over the relevant airspace."