If you haven’t heard, China has set a new Air-Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ):
It looks something like this…
The problem with this ADIZ, is that it bumps up against property that are under the jurisdiction of course over Japan’s claimed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, as well as a submerged Korean island, that was developed and administered by South Korea. Korea is keeping a low profile on this whole issue:
Meanwhile, the U.S. affirms support for Japan in islands dispute with China, by flying two U.S. B-52 Bombers through the claimed ADIZ, which was then followed by South Korean and Japanese flights across this area.
Yes, if you can’t tell, the Koreans are not happy about this:
UPDATE: November 29, 2013
Peter Lee puts things into a different perspective:
He doesn’t see this as China trying to expand its territorial control via an ADIZ. He reminds us that an ADIZ is separate from an Exclusion Zone, which actually bars entry of other countries. It’s also different from airspace, which definately requires permission (civil and military flights). An ADIZ means that whenever you pass by that airspace, you have to contact some control tower, and notify them. So where the portions overlap with other countries, it means you’ll have to contact both parties. Or, as he mentions in his personal blog:
However, the ADIZ covers all of the East China Sea between Japan and the PRC. It is not an assertion of sovereignty. It creates a zone in which unidentified aircraft are required to identify themselves to Chinese authorities. It’s an early warning system meant to provide time cushion in an era of high speed warplanes.
Well, this is a much tamer statement than what was put out earlier by people the Chinese government.
Then, there’s Mr. David Cohen, of the Jamestown Foundation’s “China Brief”, which asks, “Why now?” He brings up a few good issues, and I think it’s well worth the read.
UPDATE: November 30, 2013
Mr. James Manicom, of the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Canada, says there’s nothing to worry about. Just as Peter Lee above said, this is perfectly legal, and there are already 20 countries that have declared ADIZs. However, I think the author might be playing down the possibility of escalation between China and Japan. Both countries haven’t exactly been hashing out Memorandums of Understanding (MoU), or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to avoid any possibility of conflict. Even though Korea has been keeping a low profile, China and Korea have been talking extensively about this. The last time China and Japan hashed out an agreement on moving military assets into another area, was the 天津條約 (Covention of Tientsin), in which China agreed to pull out troops from the Korean peninsula, and if troops were sent, the other party had to be notified. When the 東동學학暴폭亂란 (“Donghak/Orientology Uprise”) broke out, the Royal Korean court asked the Qing government for military assistance. Japan, saw that the Qing government didn’t inform the other party, and thus violated the 天津條約 (Covention of Tientsin), and used this as a pretense to invade Korea. Even with well thought-out treaties, it still never solved the underlying issues between China and Japan at the time. So if there isn’t a solution to this now, this ADIZ isn’t going to help much. It shouldn’t be taken lightly at all.
UPDATE: December 15, 2013
It’s not just the Japanese, and Koreans ignoring the Chinese-declared ADIZ. The Taiwanese have decided to conduct their own exercise as well:
How the hell did China not see this coming? Or, if they knew this was going to go on, what the hell are they going to do next?
UPDATE: December 17, 2013
Prior to that, the lines of existing ADIZs in the region were drawn by the U.S. military after World War II and during the Korean War, acknowledging different countries’ de facto valid control over their territories. These lines were taken over by South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan with the intention of avoiding an accidental clash. Therefore, there is very little overlap between existing ADIZs in Northeast Asia. To name a few examples, the Japanese ADIZ does not include Dokdo/Takeshima island, disputed with South Korea, or the Kuril Islands which are disputed with Russia.
Good point! Existing ADIZs amongst different countries don’t run over into what the Chinese call “disputed areas”, or as the rest of the world calls it, “someone else’s land that doesn’t belong to you”.
UPDATE: December 22, 2013
釣魚台/尖閣島 aside, this article brings about some other legitimate concerns the Chinese have over air superiority in their area, and makes a good point about the criticism of China’s unilateral ADIZ:
China’s Survey and Mapping Law of 2002, promulgated in the wake of the 2001 EP-3 incident, identifies the limits of Beijing’s sovereignty in the skies to its 12 nautical mile territorial airspace. As such, the unspecified ‘defensive emergency measures’ in China’s ADIZ notification is for all practical purposes envisaged to intercept and escort suspicious, non-military air targets beyond the national airspace that are deemed to be a threat during peacetime. That said, incorporating the skies over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands within its alert zone is a show of exceedingly poor form on Beijing’s part. No other country in the region extends its ADIZ to cover disputed territory that it fails to effectively control.
The policy treads along a furrowed path long ploughed by adversaries — timed to unsettle the strategic environment. It is inconsistent of Japan to decry China’s notification for its unilateralism and abruptness when its own ADIZ (along with that of South Korea and Taiwan) was notified without prior consultation in the early-1950s. Tokyo’s ADIZ does not limit itself to the median line in the East China Sea either. In 2010, Japan’s modification of the Japan-Taiwan ADIZ separation line over Yonaguni Island was brought into force on roughly two days’ notice — similar to that which Beijing allegedly provided to Seoul (of course, Tokyo was left uniformed).
Although this article, and others make a good distinction between sovereignty and an ADIZ, this isn’t how the Chinese media is portraying it, and thus, the Chinese people won’t see any difference.