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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs