Japan on Wednesday (November 27) defended the United State's decision to send two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers on a training mission over disputed islands in the East China Sea without informing Beijing and defying China's declaration of a new airspace defence zone.

The move, which raised the stakes in a territorial standoff, did not prompt a response from China, the Pentagon said, and the White House urged Beijing to resolve its dispute with Japan over the islands diplomatically, without resorting to "threats or inflammatory language".

Japan called on China to retract its claims immediately.

China published coordinates for an East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone over the weekend and warned it would take "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that failed to identify themselves properly in the airspace.

Tokyo said Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida had received reassurances from the United States Secretary of State John Kerry that Washington was supportive of Japan's stance on this issue.

The zone, about two thirds the size of Britain, covers the skies over islands at the heart of a territorial dispute that China has with close U.S. ally Japan.

The B-52 bombers carried out the flight, part of a long-planned exercise, on Monday, a U.S. military official said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, conflicting with claims from Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Presented by Adam Justice

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