China announced Saturday that noncommercial aircraft coming into a large area over the East China Sea must identify themselves to Beijing, news sources reported. 

The air defense identification zone includes a group of islands disputed between China and Japan, ABC News reported.

The announcement of the zoning by China's Ministry of National Defense contributes to the land dispute between the two countries and raises the likelihood of armed conflict, the Washington Post reported.

The move prompted opposition from Tokyo and the United States voiced concern over China's "unilateral action," ABC News reported.

China did not explain the steps it would take if aircraft disobeyed the new regulations, but defense specialists say its military could potentially shoot down planes it viewed as a threat, the Washington post reported.