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The U.S. military is conducting daily flights through China’s newly declared air-defense zone without notifying Beijing authorities in advance, a U.S. defense official said today.
The disclosure indicates that U.S. flight activity in the area, where China has unilaterally sought to exert control, is more extensive than was previously known. The Pentagon had acknowledged a flight by two unarmed B-52 bombers through the air zone earlier this week.
Fighter jets on the USS George Washington aircraft carrier on Oct. 24, 2013, in the South China Sea. Photographer: Martin Abbugao/AFP via Getty Images
Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) — Alastair Newton, senior political analyst at Nomura International Plc, talks about the territorial disputes between Japan and China. Vice President Joe Biden will press Chinese leaders on their intentions with a new air-defense zone, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured Japan of U.S. support and continued military operations in the region. Newton also discusses policies of President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He speaks from Tokyo with Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg Television’s “On the Move.” (Source: Bloomberg)
A woman walks near Chinese aircraft on display during a visit to a museum in Beijing on Nov. 29, 2013. Photographer: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images
The defense official, who asked not to be named discussing military operations, wouldn’t specify the type of aircraft used in subsequent flights nor say whether any of them are armed.
“It’s very important the U.S. signal to the Chinese that we’re not going to be bullied and that we’re going to adhere to our commitments,” which include a defense treaty with Japan, saidNicholas Burns, a former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2005 to 2008.
China for a second day today sent fighter planes into the air zone over an area that includes islands claimed by both China and Japan. The situation “certainly holds the real potential for a crisis,” said Dean Cheng, a senior research fellow at the Asian Studies Center of the Heritage Foundation in Washington.
China’s assertion and the subsequent flights have increased tensions which U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will seek to defuse when he visits Japan, China and South Korea next week. Biden will convey U.S. concerns about China’s air zone and seek clarification from Chinese leaders on their intentions, according to an administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because the talks will be private.
China’s “provocative” behavior toward its neighbors in the region “now becomes a very prominent issue for the visit,” said Burns, who is now a professor of international relations at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Biden is “well-positioned to play a calming role hopefully to defuse this crisis, in a way that is supportive of our primary friend, the government of Japan,” Burns said in an interview.
China announced the air-defense identification zone effective Nov. 23 and said its military will take “defensive emergency measures” if aircraft enter the area without reporting flight plans or otherwise identifying themselves.
Japan, which denounced the move, told its airlines to stop providing flight plans to China. Japan and South Korea also have flown military aircraft through the air zone in recent days, testing China’s resolve to control a swath of the East China Sea that is central to a territorial dispute.
Japan and China both claim sovereignty over islands known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese. The surrounding waters are rich in oil, natural gas and fish.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called China’s air zone “a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region” and warned that it “increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.”
Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, wrote a Twitter posting warning of the “real chance” of a military incident involving China, Japan and others over the air zone. Haass, a former State Department official, said the “challenge will be to manage” the situation and avoid an escalation.
While the U.S. is probably responding correctly, the military flights pose the danger of a conflict, most likely by accident if warning shots are fired that could be misinterpreted, Cheng said in an interview.
“It is a multilateral powder keg,” he said. “You’re talking about something that will inevitably spill over to broader diplomatic relations and economic relations.”
The U.S. defense official said the Pentagon’s flights through China’s air zone are consistent with U.S. freedom-of-navigation policies that are applied to many areas of operation around the world.
Chinese planes were deployed in the zone off the country’s eastern coast and identified Japanese aircraft in the area, China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on its website. Yesterday, Chinese planes entered the area on normal patrols, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The Chinese Defense Ministry statement also said its planes identified U.S. aircraft, without specifying whether they entered the air-defense zone.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today he would respond to China’s air zone in a “calm, assured manner.” Japan and the U.S. plan to step up air surveillance in the East China Sea, with Japan stationing E-2C airborne early-warning aircraft at the Naha base in the Okinawa region and expanding the use of unmanned Global Hawk aircraft, the Yomiuri newspaper reported today, without citing a source.
South Korea is considering expanding its own air-defense zone in response to China’s move, Wee Yong Sub, spokesman for the Defense Ministry said today in Seoul.
“This is one of the most serious challenges ever posed by China to freedom of movement both on the sea and in the sky and will affect very seriously the forward deployment of the United States,” Tomohiko Taniguchi, an adviser to Japan’s Abe, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
Japan’s major airlines, including ANA Holdings Inc. and Japan Airlines Co., have been flying through the zone without coordinating with China, all without incident.
U.S. airlines “are being advised to take all steps they consider necessary to operate safely in the East China Sea region,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Nov. 27.
Hagel called Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on Nov. 27 to assure the U.S. ally of support and its commitment to continued military operations in the region.
Hagel commended Japan “for exercising appropriate restraint” and he “pledged to consult closely with Japan on efforts to avoid unintended incidents,” according to a Pentagon statement.
To contact the reporter on this story: David Lerman in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at firstname.lastname@example.org
Japan Dispatches F-15s, E-767s And P-3 Into China’s Air Defense Zone, China Scrambles Su-30 In Response | Zero Hedge
- China’s Ministry of Defense reports that the nation identified Japanese military planes that entered into Chinese air defense identification zone today.
- 7 batches of 10 Japanese planes consisting of E-767, P-3 and F-15 entered into the zone: statement
- China has also identified 2 batches of 2 U.S. surveillance planes consisting of P-3 and EP-3, without specifying whether the planes entered into the zone: statement
- China scrambled Su-30, J-11 and other aircraft in response.
And now it’s China’s turn to, once again, respond. And then Japan and the US again, and so on, until someone gets hurt.
China Declares “Willing To Engage In A Protracted Confrontation” With Japan As “Prime Target” | Zero Hedge
Following the to-ing and fro-ing of the last 2 days with US and Japan “testing” China’s new Air Defense Zone (ADIZ), China has not only escalated (as we noted earlier) but as the day begins in Asia is stepping up the rhetoric significantly. Official media said that Japan is the “prime target” and it is an “urgent task for China to further train its air force to make full preparation for potential conflicts.” Japanese lawmakers, meanwhile, are pushing for a bill “demanding an immediate withdrawal of China’s ADIZ.” While the Western world goes on its merry way buying S&P futures, China’s concluding message rings its most defint so far, “We are willing to engage in a protracted confrontation with Japan. Our ultimate goal is to beat its willpower and ambition to instigate strategic confrontation against China.”
The Chinese just stepped up the rhetoric notably,
China’s official media pointedly said Friday that Japan is the “prime target” of Beijing’s newly declared air control zone over the East China Sea, warning that China is willing to engage in “a protracted confrontation with Japan.”
China’s declaration of its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), announced last week, has sparked strong resistance from Japan, the United States, South Korea and other neighboring Asian nations. The new zone partly overlaps those of South Korea and Japan.
The U.S. flew two B-52 bombers through the Chinese zone without informing China this week. South Korea and Japan followed suit. In response, China sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft on patrol Thursday into the disputed air space.
In an editorial titled “Japan prime target of ADIZ tussle,” the official Global Times newspaper said, “We should carry out timely countermeasures without hesitation against Japan when it challenges China’s newly declared ADIZ.”
“If Tokyo flies its aircraft over the zone, we will be bound to send our planes to its ADIZ,” the editorial said.
“If the trend continues, there will likely be friction and confrontations and even tension in the air like in the Cold War era between the U.S. and the Soviet Union,” it said.
“It is therefore an urgent task for China to further train its air force to make full preparation for potential conflicts,” the editorial said.
“We are willing to engage in a protracted confrontation with Japan. Our ultimate goal is to beat its willpower and ambition to instigate strategic confrontation against China,” it said.
Analysts said the Chinese declaration of air control zone is mainly aimed at bolstering its claims to a group of islets in the East China Sea at the center of a bitter territorial dispute with Japan, which are known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
The Japanese are not backing down…
Via Kyodo News,
An official of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is considering asking lawmakers to adopt a bill demanding an immediate withdrawal of China’s air defense zone in East China Sea
A few days ago, in the latest escalation over the its territorial dispute with Japan regarding several islands in the East China Sea, China unveiled a so-called “Air Defense Identification” zone, shown on the map below, which includes not only the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in question, but stretches from South Korea all the way to Taiwan, and which requires that any overflights submit their plans to Beijing in advance.
The response by Japan and the US was immediate, with Japan blasting China’s retaliation to its own annexation of the Senkakus a year earlier and demonstratively neither Japan Airlines nor ANA complying with China’s demands, while the US, demonstrating its allegiance to Japan, flew B-52 bombersabove the Air Defense Zone.
China promptly responded to what it perceived was Western hypocrisy:
China’s announcement to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone in East China Sea has drawn criticism from the United States and Japan, yet their blame is wrong.
Their logic is simple: they can do it while China can not, which could be described with a Chinese saying, “the magistrates are free to burn down houses while the common people are forbidden even to light lamps.”
It is known to all that the United States is among the first to set up an air defense zone in 1950, and later more than 20 countries have followed suit, which Washington has taken for granted.
However, as soon as China started to do it, Washington immediately voiced various “concerns.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday voiced concerns over the zone, fearing it might “constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” and a White House spokesman on Monday called the Chinese announcement over the weekend “unnecessarily inflammatory.”
Japan set up such a zone in the 1960s and it even one-sidedly allowed the zone to cover China’s Diaoyu Islands. But when China set up the zone covering the Diaoyu Islands, Tokyo immediately announced it “unacceptable” and Abe even called China’s move “dangerous.” It is totally absurd and unreasonable.
In one word, both Washington and Tokyo are pursuing double standards.
The latter should not come as a surprise to China, and the reason why such double standards are allowed to exist in a US superpower legacy world is because neither Japan nor the US believe China would actually dare to re-escalate further. However, in a world in which the US is no longer an undisputed superpower (especially in the aftermath of the Syrian debacle in which Putin schooled the Obama administration) that is changing.
The first clear indication that China would not just sit there and do nothing, came overnight when China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, passed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday morning on its way to a training mission in the South China Sea.
Naturally, the training mission is just the pretext. China’s long-running if dormant feud with Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, is perhaps the best proxy of US interests in the region, where thanks to the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US sells arms and provides military training to the Taiwanese armed forces. China considers US involvement disruptive to the stability of the region, and made that quite clear in 2010 when Obama announced the decision to sell $6.4 billion in military hardware to the island leading to threats of economic sanctions from the mainland.
Which is why China crossing the Straits of Taiwan for the first time with its brand new aircraft carrier is nothing short of a message to Obama. From Xinhua:
It took about 10 hours for the carrier and its four escort ships to get through the strait separating the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
The Liaoning entered the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday afternoon after it left its home port in Qingdao of east China’s Shandong Province on Tuesday for the South China Sea on a scientific and training mission.
It was escorted by two missile destroyers, the Shenyang and Shijiazhuang, and two missile frigates, the Yantai and Weifang.
The narrative gets scarier:
“During the voyage, the carrier has kept a high degree of vigilance against approaches from foreign warships and aircraft, according to Liaoning Captain Zhang Zheng. This is the first time the carrier has conducted a cross-sea training voyage and passed through the Taiwan Strait since it was commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in September last year, according to Zhang.”
But where it gets worst is that as BBC reported minutes ago, China has not only sent a symbolic message to the US, but a very literal one to Japan and everyone else who thought China would just sit there and do nothing, when it dispatched its own warplanes over the air defense zone.
China has sent warplanes to its newly declared air defence zone in the East China Sea, state media reports.
The vast zone, announced last week, covers territory claimed by China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
China has said all planes transiting the zone must file flight plans and identify themselves, or face “defensive emergency measures”. But Japan, South Korea and the US have all since flown military aircraft through the area.
China’s state news agency Xinhua quoted an air force colonel as saying the the warplanes had carried out routine patrols. The zone includes islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, which are claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.
What happens next: will Japan once again prod the not so sleeping dragon, and continue flying commercial (and military) airplanes over China’s expanded zone of control, without preclearance with Beijing, and will the US send some more strategic bombers just to prove that Obama didn’t win the Nobel peace prize for nothing?
And will then China once again re-escalate, perhaps through an “accidental” engagement with what it “vigilantly” thought was an offensive act by “foreign warships and aircraft?” resulting in a major diplomatic scandal or worse. Or will it simply, and more effectively, launch a salvo of a few hundred billion US Treasurys into the electronic ether, sending the 10 Year yield over 3% and the Fed scrambling to preserve its centrally-planned house of cards?
So, the ball is now in the court of Japan, which lately has been engaging in increasingly more desperate and irrational actions to preserve a sense of control over its imploding economy and the whole “Fukushima thing”, and which means that much more entertainment is imminent.
One of the notable developments in the neverending China-Japan territorial sovereignty dispute over various rock formations (and potential massive natural resources located beneath them) in the East China Sea, has been China’s launch of an “air defense zone” over said disputed islands. As AP reported previously, Beijing on Saturday issued a map of the zone — which includes a cluster of islands controlled by Japan but also claimed by China — and a set of rules that say all aircraft entering the area must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey Beijing’s orders. Various Japanese airlines responded in a confused manner overnight, with neither JAL nor ANA sure whether or not to comply with China’s new demand which is merely the latest territorial escalation.
Yet the declaration seems to have flopped as a foreign policy gambit. Analysts say Beijing may have miscalculated the forcefulness and speed with which its neighbors rejected its demands. “Washington, which has hundreds of military aircraft based in the region, says it has zero intention of complying. Japan likewise has called the zone invalid, unenforceable and dangerous, while Taiwan and South Korea, both close to the U.S., also rejected it.”
To put an end to any debate of how the US really feels about China imposing what it believes is its own territoria sovereignty, moments ago the WSJ reported that, in a direct challenge to China, or perhaps provocation, “a pair of American B-52 bombers flew over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea without informing Beijing, U.S. officials said Tuesday, in a direct challenge to China and its establishment of an expanded air defense zone.
Defense officials earlier had promised that the U.S. would challenge the zone and would not comply with Chinese requirements to file a flight plan, radio frequency or transponder information.
The flight of the B-52s, based at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam, were part of a long planned exercise called Coral Lightening. The bombers were not armed and were not accompanied by escort planes.
While the probability of a direct Chinese retaliation against the US is slim to none, it is quite possible that the Chinese will once again redirect their nationalist anger toward Japan, in a repeat of what happened a year ago when the Japanese government escalated the Senkaku Island confrontation, leading to a purge of Japanese business interests (and citizens) from the mainland, and a collapse of all Japanese exports to China. And since one of Abenomics key “arrows” is boosting exports, the last thing the economy, which already hangs by a thread, needs is another economic embargo by one of its largest trading partners. We will find out if China reacts in such a fashion shortly.
China says the establishment of the zone is aimed at “safeguarding state sovereignty” [Reuters]
|Tokyo has branded as “very dangerous” a move by Beijing to set up an “air defence identification zone” over an area that includes disputed islands controlled by Japan, but claimed by China.
In a move that raised the temperature of a bitter territorial row between the two countries, China’s defence ministry said that it was setting up the zone to “guard against potential air threats”.
It later scrambled air force jets, including fighter planes, to carry out a patrol mission on Saturday in the newly-established zone.
The outline of the zone, which is shown on the Chinese defence ministry website and a state media Twitter account , covers a wide area of the East China Sea between South Korea and Taiwan that includes airspace above the Tokyo-controlled islands known as the Senkaku to Japan and Diaoyu to China.
Junichi Ihara, who heads the Japanese foreign ministry’s Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau, lodged a protest by phone to Han Zhiqiang, minister at the Chinese Embassy in Japan, the ministry said in a statement.
He said Japan could “never accept the zone set up by China” as it includes the Tokyo-controlled islands, the statement said.
Ihara also told the Chinese side that such a move by Beijing would “escalate” current bilateral tensions over the islands.
Akitaka Saiki, Japan’s vice foreign minister, plans to summon the Chinese ambassador to Japan, Cheng Yonghua, as early as possible on Monday and state Japan’s position on the matter, Kyodo news agency reported.
A Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman, Yang Yujun, said the establishment of the zone, which became operational on Saturday morning, was aimed at “safeguarding state sovereignty, territorial land and air security, and maintaining flight order”.
“It is a necessary measure in China’s exercise of self-defence rights. It has no particular target and will not affect the freedom of flight in relevant airspace,” Yang said in a statement on the ministry’s website Saturday.
“China will take timely measures to deal with air threats and unidentified flying objects from the sea, including identification, monitoring, control and disposition, and it hopes all relevant sides positively cooperate and jointly maintain flying safety,” he said.
Along with the creation of the zone in the East China Sea, the defence ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that must be followed by all planes entering the area, under penalty of intervention by the military.
Sino-Japanese relations have remained at a low-ebb for more than a year as a result of the dispute, which was revived when Japan nationalised three of the archipelago’s five islands in September 2012.
One of Prime Minister Abe’s first decisions was to increase Japan’s defence budget [File: AFP]
|Japan is ready to counter China if it resorts to force in the pursuit of its geopolitical interests, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said in an interview.
Abe in an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Saturday said Japan should take the lead in guarding against what he said might be an attempt by China to use force to attain its diplomatic goals.
He said he had realised at recent meetings with South East Asian leaders that the region sought leadership from Tokyo in terms of security amid China’s more forthright diplomacy.
“There are concerns that China is attempting to change the status quo by force, rather than by rule of law. But if China opts to take that path, then it won’t be able to emerge peacefully,” he told the paper.
“So it shouldn’t take that path and many nations expect Japan to strongly express that view. And they hope that as a result, China will take responsible action in the international community.”
A top retired Chinese diplomat said any move by Tokyo to contain China could amount to an attempt to conceal ulterior motives in the region and prove to be “extremely dangerous”.
The defence ministry warned Japan not to underestimate China’s resolve to take whatever measures were needed to protect itself.
China took issue with a Japanese media report saying Abe had approved a policy for Japan to shoot down foreign drones that ignore warnings to leave its airspace.
“Don’t underestimate the Chinese army’s resolute will and determination to protect China’s territorial sovereignty,” Defence Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said on the ministry’s website.
For more than a year, relations between Beijing and Tokyo have been chilled by a territorial dispute in the East China Sea where China claims a small, uninhabited archipelago administered by Japan under the name of Senkaku, though Beijing calls it Diaoyu.
Ties have taken a further battering over visits by Japanese lawmakers this month to the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo honouring both war dead and Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals.
One of Abe’s first decisions as prime minister has been to increase Japan’s defence budget for the first time in 11 years.
Tokyo also plans to hold a large air and sea exercise in November to strengthen the island’s defenses, and as a display of might intended for the Chinese.
- Japan will ‘stand up to China’ – Abe (bbc.co.uk)
- Japan PM says won’t tolerate use of force to change status quo (worldbulletin.net)
- Japan to be more assertive against China, says PM Abe (abc.net.au)
- 3 Chinese surveillance ships spotted near Senkakus (english.kyodonews.jp)
- Chinese surveillance ships spotted near Senkakus for 3rd day (english.kyodonews.jp)
- China naval ships sail through Okinawa islets, but not near Senkakus (english.kyodonews.jp)
- Are 2012′s tensions indicative of increased long-term risk to the Asia-Pacific’s regional architecture? (globalriskinsights.com)
- Japan Coast Guard reports Chinese ships in Senkaku waters (japandailypress.com)
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