U.S. military authorities dispatched the first of six top-tech submarine-hunting jets to its Okinawa post near the disputed East China Sea, a move sure to ratchet up tensions among China and the United States.
The Navy plans to send in a total of six P-8 Poseidon patrol craft, aimed at bolstering the United States’ ability to root out submarines in the area, Reuters reported. The deployment was planned months ago, but nonetheless comes as China declared an air defense zone above islands that it’s fighting Japan to control.
President Obama, in response to the declaration, flew in two B-52 bombers into the so-called off-limits air space — a strong message that the United States would not abide China’s terms of designation. But Mr. Obama also said that U.S. businesses would obey China’s air zone declaration, and refrain from flying private craft into the zone without Beijing’s permission.
The White House said it is proceeding with previously forged plans to deliver six submarine-hunting jets to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. The first was sent Sunday, with the remaining five to be delivered before the end of this month, a U.S. Navy official told Reuters.
The P-8 is capable of flying farther than other planes at the base, including the P-3, Reuters reported.
The first of the six jets arrived at the post just one day before Vice President Joseph R. Biden was set to arrive in Tokyo.