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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs