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.
William Ide
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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid