NORAD: Santa Won’t Recognize New Chinese Air Defense Zone

Can Donner and Blitzen outrun the People’s Liberation Army Air Force? The White House weighs in.

China recently declared a new “air defense identification zone” where anyone flying in the air space would have to identify themselves and seek approval from the country.

Ng Han Guan / Via AP

Every year the military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, tracks Santa Claus as he makes his way around the globe.


Here’s Santa “reviewing his flight plan” at NORAD.


Unfortunately Santa’s path has, in previous years, passed through China’s Air Defense Zone.


A spokesperson for NORAD said that this year, “we don’t know Santa’s route, only Santa knows that, but I’m guessing Santa probably has clearance to go everywhere.”


A national security spokesperson for the White House, Caitlin Hayden, said:

“I’m not empowered to speak for Mr. Claus, nor would his sleigh be subject to the same regulations as U.S. civilian airliners. As a general matter, the United States does not recognize the newly announced ADIZ, which appears to be a provocative attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea, a highly sensitive area, and thus raises regional tensions and increases the risk of miscalculation, confrontation and accidents.”

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Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at
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