A group of disputed islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is seen in the East China Sea. Japan and the United States sharply criticized China's move to impose new rules on airspace over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Tokyo.
|Kyodo via Reuters file|
Two American B-52 bombers flew over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea on Monday evening, a U.S. defense official confirmed, just days after the Chinese government included the area in an air defense identification zone.
The official said the flight was a training mission and the bombers were not armed. The flight was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.
The Chinese announced over the weekend they were expanding their air defense identification zone to include the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese. Japan also claims ownership.
The extension of the air defense identification zone includes an expectation by the Chinese government that all aircraft declare a flight plan and frequency and provide other information before entering.