China Sends Jets Into Air Defense Zone After Flights by Japan, S. Korea
China's military said it sent warplanes Thursday to patrol its newly-declared air defense identification zone in the East China Sea, just hours after Japan and South Korea challenged Beijing by flying military planes into the zone.
China's official Xinhua news agency said several fighter jets and early warning aircraft had been sent on what a military spokesman described as defensive air patrols over disputed islands controlled by Tokyo and claimed by Beijing.
The Chinese response raises the stakes in an international standoff over the the uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
Japan, the United States and South Korea have all refused to recognize the Chinese-declared air zone. Earlier this week, the United States, which is obligated by treaty to defend Japan, sought to underscore its position by flying two B-52 bombers over the islands.
The unarmed U.S. flights came two days after the Chinese Defense Ministry warned that all aircraft in the zone must identify themselves and obey all orders from Beijing.
Hong Kong Ferry Accident Injures 85
Maritime officials say 85 people were injured, some seriously, when a ferry travelling from Hong Kong to Macau hit an unidentified object.
Hong Kong's marine department said the high-speed hydrofoil, carrying 105 passengers and 10 crew, crashed at around 1:20 am ((1720 UTC)) on a tourist route near an outlying island.
The vessel managed to sail back to Hong Kong after the accident.
The accident is sure to stir public concern about safety of maritime transport in Hong Kong's harbor, one of the busiest in the world.