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China sends warplanes into newly declared air defense zone

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 10:10 a.m. MDT

In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion surveillance plane flies over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China said Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 it had monitored two unarmed U.S. bombers that flew over the East China Sea in defiance of Beijing's declaration it was exercising greater military control over the area.  (Associated Press) In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion surveillance plane flies over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. China said Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 it had monitored two unarmed U.S. bombers that flew over the East China Sea in defiance of Beijing's declaration it was exercising greater military control over the area. (Associated Press)

BEIJING — The state news agency is reporting that China has sent warplanes into its newly declared maritime air defense zone.

The flights Thursday came after South Korean and Japanese flights through the zone added to the international defiance of rules Beijing says it has imposed in the East China Sea.

China's air force spokesman Shen Jinke says several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft were sent on normal air patrols in the zone Thursday. He was quoted by the state news agency Xinhua.

Shen described the flights as "a defensive measure and in line with international common practices." He said China's air force would remain on high alert and will take measures to protect the country's airspace.

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