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US may deploy B-52 in event of a Diaoyutai conflict

The United States may deploy its B-52 strategic bomber to defend Japan's administration of the disputed Diaoyutai islands (Senkaku in Japan, Diaoyu in China) in the East China Sea if China were ever to invade the islands, according to China's state-run Global Times, citing Japanese media reports.

The US B-52 bomber, the same aircraft spotted over China's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last year, could potentially be deployed to the area once again to conduct strategic bombings against the Chinese from its airbase at Guam.

Citing the Tokyo-based Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the paper said that the US Navy is also likely to replace the USS Denver, the Austin-class amphibious transport dock currently stationed in Japan, with the more advanced San Antonio-class landing platform dock, USS Green Bay, in 2015. With a displacement of 16,914 tonnes, the USS Green Bay is not only larger than the USS Denver, but also has the capability to carry up to five MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and 14 amphibious assault vehicles.

From its naval base located at Sasebo in southwestern Japan, the USS Green Bay can launch an amphibious assault if China were to attempt to occupy the islands, the paper said. In addition to the new combat vessel, the US has deployed the new Boeing P-8 Poseidon jet-powered maritime patrol aircraft to replace the older P-3C to confront the submarines of the People's Liberation Army Navy.

After China established its ADIZ over the East China Sea last November, it replaced Russia and North Korea to become Japan's number one air defense concern. The Japanese defense ministry stated that fighters of Japan Air Self-Defense Force have scrambled 453 times to intercept aircraft intruding into its ADIZ, scrambling against the intruding Chinese aircraft 295 times compared to 158 Russian aircraft.

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