Santa’s fighter jet escort this year has drawn controversy, but a senior Pentagon official recently spelled out exactly why Kris Kringle needed defence: China.
While travelling with Secretary Chuck Hagel, a senior defence official told Julian E. Barnes of WSJ that Santa needs airborne defenses because of “the proliferation of air defence identification zones.”
His dig was aimed at China, which unilaterally laid claim to air space over contested isles in the East China Sea.
The new Air Defence Identification zone came with a warning: all aircraft should identify themselves to Beijing, and leave open two way communication while travelling through the zone.
“I would note that [Santa’s] visit to every inhabited place on earth involves flying through all manner of airspace, whether it is open, controlled, restricted, prohibited or disputed,” Navy Captain Jeff Davis, NORAD spokesman, said to the WSJ. “He does not file a flight plan with anybody.”
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