Sunday, November 24, 2013

China Cranks up pressure, sets events on war path

This map appeared in the Taipei Times.

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.

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.
WSJ adds:
"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 China Japan! The US State Department issued a State-ment:
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.

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.
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.

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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Anonymous said...

Probably a distraction (divert attention away from all the NPLs at the banks that are ready to implode?)

Anonymous said...

Maybe you discussed this, but I read just last week Japan was trying to pass a new national security law where the did not have to report to the people on changes to the constitution. (spec: article 9, the self defense art I think they were talking about?) Something along those lines.

WP said...

China does not want to take this "dispute" to the ICJ because Japan has the clear advantage of having had effective control over the Senkakus since 1895 till the end of WWII, and again from 1972 when the US returned the islands to Japan after the occupation. A legal ruling based on international law and true history would probably end in Japan's favor. So to obtain at least some concessions on the islands, China wants to draw Japan into bilateral negotiations. But Japan says "no way," because China's claim is like someone coming up to you and claiming your left toe then offering to fairly negotiate for it. You can wear your toe on MWF and he can wear it on TTHS and Sunday your toe can rest! So how can China get Japan to negotiate? First send a few ships into Japanese waters, then send more serious ships. Then send unannounced drones. And when Japan threatens to shoot down UN-manned drones that can't respond to scramble personnel, then pretend the airspace is China's and create rules for its use. IMO this serves at least 3 purposes: 1-up the ante in the hope of wearing down Japan's great patience and restraint and bring her to the bargaining table. 2-provoke a military response from Japan and then claim the moral ascendency ("Japan hit me."). 3-establish the trappings of "effective control" over the islands in case China decides to later take the case to the ICJ. The problem with #3 is that China is about 120 years too late to be claiming effective peaceful control! This is more a land, air, and sea grab!

yankdownunder said...

Asian airlines to give flight plans to China after airspace zone created

Korean Air said China's proclamation meant flight plans would have to be delivered to Chinese authorities but the routes its pilots took would not be affected.

What about Taiwan's airlines?

JSDF and USFJ need to put a base on these islands now.
Then China will have to either put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is the ADIZ includes the Pengjia Islet, along with Mianhua Islet and Huaping Islet. They are the northmost place of Taiwan About 56 km from Keelung port. One of the grid coordinates of the ADIZ is 24 45 Lat, 123 00 Lon which is located on the Japanese Island of Yonaguni just 117 km of the coast of Yilan to the east.

les said...

You can bet the airlines have been told very clearly that if they fail to play along and notify Beijing of flights that pass through this claimed ADIZ, they will lose their landing or overfly rights.