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China General says will shoot `hostile` aircraft; US bombers fly over air zone

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 21:21

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Beijing: Even as two US B-52 bombers flew over China`s newly established Air Defence Identification Zone, a PLA Air Force General warned that Beijing had the right to shoot down any `hostile` aircraft identified over the zone, reports said Wednesday.

Chinese General`s comment was made public shortly before reports emerged that the US, in a show of force, had flown two of its giant B-52 bombers over the Chinese air zone, reported the South China Morning Post.

In what appeared as a confrontational act, the US declared that it had acted without informing China.

The Chinese Defence ministry also stated that it had "monitored" the flight of US bombers but it refrained from announcing any "emergency measures" which it had earlier said, would be imposed on any aircraft defying air zone.

"China`s air force monitored the entire course [of the US bombers], identified them in a timely way, and ascertained the type of US aircraft," the statement said.

"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."

However, the comments made by PLA Air Force major general Qiao Liang appeared contrary as he said that any aircraft defying the warnings could be shot down.

Speaking in an interview to the China News Service website, the Chinese General said, “[The zone] provides communication and air force identification between countries, allowing them to identify whether the opposite side is hostile... But if the subject intruding into the zone disregarded any warning, our pilots have the right to shoot it down,” reported the South China Morning Post.

However, the General simultaneously struck a conciliatory tone saying such disputes should be resolved by negotiations and not war.

“It would be apparently irrational to fight a war over the ADIZ. Territorial disputes like this should be resolved through negotiation,” he said.

The entire controversy surrounding the disputed islands in the East China Sea was reignited when on Saturday , China announced a new air defence identification zone (ADIZ).

The move was slammed by Japan and the US, who called the zone as invalid. Other countries too favoured Japan and criticized the Chinese act.

China and Japan already have been at loggerheads regarding the ownership of islands called as the Senkaku in Japan, and the Diaoyus in China.

First Published: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 - 12:11
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