I go off to Alishan for the weekend and whaddaya know... China declared a new air defense zone that includes the Senkakus, cranking up the pressure on Japan and essentially declaring that this conflict over the Senkakus will end in open war unless Japan backs down. The Taipei Times report offered some useful insights:
China’s ministry of Defense issued a statement on its Web site yesterday regarding the establishment of the zone.WSJ adds:
The statement was accompanied by a map and a set of rules regarding the zone, which stated that all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or do not comply with orders from Beijing.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who also sits on the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee, suggested that China’s move was aimed at Japan, as China did not include Taiwan’s Pengjia Islet (彭佳嶼) in its East China Sea air defense identification zone.
Li Fung, a Hong Kong-based Chinese military expert, said that China’s move can be regarded as an effort to bolster Beijing’s sovereignty claims over the islands.
It also showed the Chinese government is preparing for military conflict with Japan over the disputed islands, Li said.
"An ADIZ isn't defined in international law. Basically, each country draws up its own and operates on that basis. Therefore, setting up the ADIZ doesn't have any legal meaning for China or affect Japan's territorial rights. However, it is unclear to what extent they will enforce it. In general the situation is getting riskier," said Narushige Michishita of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo.The US has a defense treaty with Japan and has said on several occasions that the Senkakus fall under the purview of that treaty. This means that if China goes to war over the Senkakus then the US must come in on the side of
The United States is deeply concerned about China's announcement that they've established an "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone." This unilateral action constitutes an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea. Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident.This is basically a signal of coming war. China has just reduced everyone's room for maneuver, especially if they attempt to enforce this zone.
Freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability, and security in the Pacific. We don't support efforts by any State to apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter its national airspace. The United States does not apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter U.S. national airspace. We urge China not to implement its threat to take action against aircraft that do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing.
We have urged China to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties, throughout the region. We remain steadfastly committed to our allies and partners, and hope to see a more collaborative and less confrontational future in the Pacific.
And also consider that this is just a step. There is more cranking up of pressure coming in the future. At what point do the US and Japan had to intervene to show they mean business, and how? Do we wait for the next carefully calculated escalation? Or are the escalations meant to provoke a Japan-US response that China can plausibly claim as a pretext for war?
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