Two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers enter China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone over disputed islands

File photo of a B-52 being refueled by a KC-135. (Image credit: USAF)

A flight of two U.S. B-52 bombers have reportedly entered the new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over East China Sea on Nov. 25 without informing Beijing, according to a U.S. official who spoke to the Wall Street Journal.

The two aircraft departed from Guam airbase and flew close to the disputed islands without complying with any of the rules set by Beijing for the new ADIZ over Diaoyu Islands (known as Senkaku islands in Japan).

The question is: did China’s air defense detect them? Did they try to intercept the two B-52s?

The two bombers, unarmed and not escorted by any fighter plane, were involved in a previous planned exercise dubbed “Coral Lightening”.

Even if the U.S. has already flown “extended deterrence” missions in the Asia-Pacific region in the past, this is an unprecedented direct challenge to China and its threats to Washington’s local allies.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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About David Cenciotti 4450 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written four books.


  1. Its not a new ADIZ unless we agree to it. China is pushing hard on many fronts and its just a matter of time before a real conflict takes place in the region. Numbers or Technical Superiority?
    Place your bets now.

    • I don’t think so….right now, china isn’t ready. Yea, they could beat Vietnam, the Philippines….but not Japan, because if you talk about Japans military you might as well talk about the US military because if they fight someone we ill be at their side the whole time..and the battle there would be on the water and even though China’s navy is growing in power, its pathetic next to the US navy and they know it

  2. If they weren’t flying air banners behind them saying “Pussies!” I feel like this was a missed opportunity.

  3. Cool. I’m sure Glowbama has already been on the phone apologizing to China and the general that authorized this will be publicly removed or retire “to spend more time with his family”.

  4. Take an east asia history 101, then you will know Potsdam Declaration and Cairo Communiqué said:

    “Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.” As had been announced in the Cairo Declaration in 1943.

    Who is trying to change the rule set by world war II? Did the above wording clear enough?

    Only another world war can change the rule of world war II, just like a decision of a meeting can’t be changed by a few persons in a dark room without calling another meeting with all previous attendees invited. Whoever challenge the rule of world war II is an aggressor in this world. Whoever challenge the rule of world war II is calling or creating a world war III. Calling or creating another world war is more than a criminal action.

    • And where is the list of “… minor islands as we determine”? Do you have a link to a detailed Cairo Declaration? The short one I found does not mention the disputed islands, only islands which have been returned to China since the end of the war.

      Manchuria (not an island, but a region conquered and occupied by Japan), Formosa (aka Taiwan), and The Pescadores were returned to China… but what of the islands that are currently in dispute not only between China and Japan, but also China and Vietnam, China and the Philippines and any others I’ve left out?

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