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China says monitored U.S. bombers' flight through airspace zone

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday it had monitored the entire progress of two unarmed U.S. B-52 bombers that flew over disputed islands in the East China Sea on a training mission without informing Beijing.

The U.S. move was in defiance of China's declaration of a new airspace defence zone, and raised the stakes in a territorial standoff.

"The Chinese air force monitored the entire course and identified (them) in a timely way, ascertaining that they were U.S. aircraft," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

"The Chinese side has the ability to effectively manage and control the relevant airspace," it added.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Hui Li)