Two US B-52 bombers flew over a disputed area of the East China Sea without informing Beijing, US officials said Tuesday, challenging China's bid to create an expanded air defense zone.This was exactly the right move. China still nurses fantasies of splitting Japan from the US, while pursuing policies that are actually driving Tokyo closer to Washington. The time when Beijing could have wooed Tokyo passed several years ago, thanks to Beijing's belligerent attitude...
The flight of the giant Stratofortress planes sent a clear signal that Washington would push back against what it considers an aggressive stance by Beijing in the region.
The move also represented a robust show of US support for Japan, which is locked in a mounting dispute with Beijing over disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The unarmed bombers took off from Guam on Monday on a scheduled flight, as part of what defense officials insisted was a routine exercise dubbed "Coral Lightning Global Power Training Sortie."
One function of this ADIZ declaration is thus to show Tokyo that Washington won't support it in the pinch. This move has precedent -- at least one motive for the Sino-Vietnamese War was for Beijing to demonstrate that the treaty between Hanoi and Moscow was simply a worthless piece of paper. There too China's ostensible motive was islands (Spratly Islands) and alleged mistreatment of ethnic Chinese minorities in Vietnam, eerie echoes of China's bogus claim to the Senkakus and its claim that Taiwan should be part of China because they are all one big happy culture.
Hence, Washington's move was exactly the right move -- giving the middle finger to Beijing, but not using something more aggressive, like a fighter sweep. Kudos to the White House and Pentagon for this move. Hopefully now with the beginning of serious negotiations with Iran, the Obama Administration can shift the US perspective away from its hopeless fixation on that sideshow of a sideshow in the Middle East to Asia, where the future is.
Good work, guys. Very happy to see this.
UPDATE: Probably be on this one all day as news flows in. The Diplomat with a great write-up which observes:
There has been some dispute among defense experts about whether China has the capability to actually enforce its conditions. Defense News quoted an unnamed U.S. defense industry source located in Asia as saying, “Let China run itself crazy trying to enforce this. I just can’t see how China will sustain the enforcement. Too much traffic goes through there. If no country recognizes it, [and] don’t respond to China’s IFF [identification friend or foe] interrogation or VID [visual identification], then this new ADIZ is meaningless.”Way to go, Beijing! Totally unnecessarily peeving erstwhile friend. This is all about Beijing appealing to domestic audiences. Scary, because those right-wingers aren't going to be appeased until they and others are bleeding...
Notably, China’s announcement also won it the ire of South Korea, one of the few states in the region that Beijing had thus far avoided offending over sovereignty issues in the past few years. According to the Wall Street Journal, China’s new ADIZ overlaps with about 3,000 square kilometers of South Korea’s own ADIZ. It also encloses Ieodo (Suyan) Rock that South Korea administers but China also claims. Seoul and Beijing will discuss the issue an already scheduled vice defense ministerial-level strategic dialogue in the South Korean capital this week.
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