The United States challenged China's newly-declared defense zone over a disputed set of Pacific islands by flying two Air Force B-52 bombers over it Monday night, an official told WSJ. The official added: "The flight was without incident." But that doesn't mean a larger dispute couldn't spill over into the holiday.

The flight was part of a previously scheduled US exercise, and the unescorted bombers weren't armed, according to WSJ defense reporter Julian Barnes. But the Guam-based B-52s ignored Chinese requests to file a flight plan or share a transponder frequency with Chinese authorities that could have eased communications and tracking of the flight.

A Pentagon spokesman told Barnes that such flights would continue. Referring to China's new declared air defense boundary, the spokesman said (apparently without any irony): "We see it as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region."

[Photo credit: DOD]