Chinese officials warned off an American heavy bomber on a mission near South Korea – telling the pilots they were illegally operating in Chinese airspace.
Chinese authorities issued a radio warning to the crew of the nuclear-capable US Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber during a flight southwest of South Korea’s Jeju Island.
The pilots responded to Chinese air traffic controllers saying that they were in international airspace, and maintained their original flight path, according to a US Pacific Air Forces spokesman.
The bombers had entered a Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) – where Chinese authorities require aircraft to notify them before transiting.
The U.S. government does not recognise China’s claim to the area.
‘Pacific Air Forces … did not recognize the Chinese Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) when it was announced in November of 2013, and does not recognize it today,’ said spokesman Major Phil Ventura.
‘The ADIZ has not changed our operations.’