US to airlines: Obey China’s defense zone

The U.S. government is asking American airlines to follow China’s rules regarding its newly-declared air defense zone.

On Nov. 23, China declared airspace off the coast of China as the country’s “Air Defense Identification Zone.” The country asked that it be notified when flights are to pass through the airspace.

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During a Wednesday press briefing, a State Department spokesperson said U.S. airlines are expected to comply with rules issued by foreign governments.

The U.S. “remain[s] deeply concerned by China's November 23 declaration” of the airspace, the spokesperson said, but “generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally will operate consistent with NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) issued by foreign countries.”

The fact that the U.S. government expects airlines to comply with the rules “does not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China's requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the spokesperson said.

Shortly after’s China’s declaration of the airspace as an “air defense identification zone,” the U.S. government flew two warplanes over the area without first notifying the Chinese government.

The New York Times compared the U.S. response to that of Japan, which asked its country’s airlines to stop following China’s notification requirements “out of fear that complying with the rules would add legitimacy to Chinese claims to islands that sit below the now contested airspace.”