World News

US, Japan Criticize China Air Defense Zone

Japan's defense chief says Tokyo is working closely with Washington following China's establishment of an air defense zone over disputed waters in the East China Sea.

The U.S. and Japan have vowed not to recognize the air defense identification zone, under which Beijing wants all civilian and military aircraft to identify themselves and obey its orders.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday the Japanese Self Defense Forces are working with U.S. forces and will take all necessary steps to protect Japanese territory.

"The defense ministry and self defense forces will look into the situation and do whatever it takes to protect our territory and airspace. As such, we will continue to look into what is needed to continue to monitor and patrol the area under self-defense and international law."

While U.S. and Japanese officials have condemned the Chinese move as provocative, they stressed it will have no effect on how they work in the area.

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren said U.S. military planes flying in the region would not identify themselves according to the new Chinese rules.

But the new regulations are affecting Japanese commercial flights. Several Japanese airliners say they are now notifying China when their planes enter the new zone.

Although some see this as an acknowledgement of Beijing's control of the area, the RAND Corporation's Scott Harold tells VOA this is not the primary intention of the new policy.

"The real goal of the air defense identification zone is not to try to deal with civilian airlines, since at all times those are expected to be open to announcing themselves and their intentions. It's really about trying to exclude Japanese or U.S. or Korean or even Taiwanese military airplanes from flying in those areas without China's permission."

Harold says the ultimate goal of the policy is to try to force the Japanese to the negotiating table by threatening to take action against any military plane that does not first seek Chinese permission.

The establishment of the new zone is the latest in a series of moves that have raised tension around the disputed East China Sea islands, known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu.

China has for months sent regular patrols of airplanes and ships near the islands, in what is seen as an attempt to challenge Japan's de facto control of them. The moves have raised concerns of an accidental clash.

Security analyst Yoichiro Sato of Japan's Ritsumeikan Asia-Pacific University tells VOA the moves are making it necessary for Washington to go further than its current level of support for Japan regarding the islands.

"This kind of strong move came in the wake of perceived weak U.S. commitment to the alliance and the defense of the Senkaku. This is a very dangerous move China is playing. And at this point, the U.S. has no choice but to upgrade its commitment. It has to. Otherwise, it will really cause a major problem later on for the United States."

The United States recognizes Japan's control of the East China Sea islands but says it takes no position on their "ultimate" sovereignty. It has, however, said the islands fall within the scope of the mutual defense treaty under which the United States is obligated to help Japan if attacked.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs