News / Asia

China Defense Zone Struggles to Take Off Amid Regional Backlash

A Chinese military plane H-6 bomber flies through airspace between Okinawa prefecture's main island and the smaller Miyako island in southern Japan in this handout photo taken October 27, 2013 by Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
A Chinese military plane H-6 bomber flies through airspace between Okinawa prefecture's main island and the smaller Miyako island in southern Japan in this handout photo taken October 27, 2013 by Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
China’s recent announcement that it has established a wide air defense identification zone off its northeastern coast is facing a backlash from the United States, Japan and other allies in the region. But authorities in Beijing are continuing to defend the policy.

China has warned all aircraft to identify themselves and obey orders from Beijing in the new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea.

From the outset, the White House, State Department and Pentagon voiced strong concern about the decision and the threat they say it poses to regional security. On Monday, the U.S. military flew two unarmed B-52 bombers into the zone without notifying China.

South Korea and Japan say they will ignore Beijing's new policy. In Australia, authorities summoned the Chinese ambassador to explain the move.

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy praised Tokyo’s restraint on Wednesday and warned that China’s actions only serve to increase tensions in region. She also urged the two countries to find a way to resolve the issue through diplomatic channels.

"Japan has shown great restraint this past year and we urge them to continue to do so," she said. "We encourage Japan to increase communications with its neighbors and continue to respond to regional challenges in a measured way."

Carl Thayer, who specializes in Asian maritime security at the Australian Defense Force Academy, says the use of B-52s on what the U.S. military says was a “pre-planned” mission has put more pressure on China.
 
“I think it puts the ball back in China’s court. You’ve declared the zone and laid out your rules and the United States not only says that it will ignore them but it has ignored them,” he said.

Initial response to the flight from China’s defense ministry was muted. 

In a brief statement the ministry said it monitored the entire flights of the planes and identified them in a timely manner. The spokesman repeated again China’s warning that it is capable of exercising effective control over the area in the future.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang says China has exercised its legitimate self-defense rights in establishing the zone.

Qin says that China notified relevant countries about the decision before making the announcement and that it is willing to work together with other countries to strengthen communication and maintain regional peace, stability and flight safety.

Analysts note that air defense identification zones were first established in the wake of World War II. The United States established an air defense identification zone in 1950 that required planes to only report to civil authorities when they were heading to the United States, but not when they were passing through.

Thayer says air defense zones were useful in providing assurances during the Cold War with the Soviet Union, but their legal status is ambiguous given that they extend beyond a country’s territorial air space and territorial waters, which the United Nations defines as 12 kilometers from a country's shore.

“These are not zones that are declared when there is an ongoing controversy like there is between China and Japan. China is arguing it is a defensive thing to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity over its airspace… And the point is that it is not their airspace it is international airspace,” he said.

In China, online commentators have largely welcomed the move as a sign of a more assertive stance in dealing with Japan. At the same time, however, some did note that the zone is different from a country’s airspace and that planes are allowed to enter and exit the zone freely.

According to the new regulations, airplanes entering the zone must identify themselves and follow China’s orders or face potential military action. China also says it reserves the right to announce zones elsewhere as well. Analysts say that could mean that the South China Sea may be next.

What triggered the announcement, however, is still unclear. Some analysts say it is part of Beijing’s ongoing effort to assert its territorial claims in the East and South China Seas. Others say it is a sign that China is no longer going to take a low-key approach to foreign affairs.

Randy Schriver, the head of the Project 2049 Institute in Washington D.C., says it is hard to speculate at this point, but China has clearly been more assertive in recent years.

“There is a sense in China that Japan has not fully embraced the Chinese request to acknowledge a dispute exists. Japan has said it is a political dispute, not a territorial dispute and I think they are trying to ratchet things up in order to put more pressure on Japan,” he said.

Both China and Japan’s air defense zones include the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands as they are known in China.

Japan annexed the islets in the late 19th century. China claimed sovereignty over the archipelago in 1971, saying ancient maps show it has been Chinese territory for centuries.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: van from: vn
November 29, 2013 6:28 AM
it's time for NATO, England , France, Germany.....to strongly protest china ADIZ. we are humans, we cannot keep silent when we see people doing something wrong. Nato must support Japan, Australia and Asia......

by: VAN from: VN
November 29, 2013 6:18 AM
i am so happy to know that even Australia also objects to china ADIZ. the world is uniting against china for its greed and selfhisness. we are not lonely in this war : the US, Japan, S.Korea, Phi, Australia, Taiwan, England, France, germany.....will watch this closely and support us in the war against china. China should be obedient .i think

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs