China's decision to send in warplanes is likely a bid to enforce the new air-defense zone after the US, Japan and South Korea all flew planes through without any response.
Beijing wants to change the status quo in the East China Sea. US officials think it unlikely that China will challenge military flights.
The Chinese military's provocative moves on Japan-controlled islands do not match the spirit of reform in the Communist Party's recent plenum. Wiser heads in China need to ensure the country's peaceful rise as a power.