Friday, November 29, 2013

Air Defence Identification Zone

Collectivist China's recent overlapping zone establishment seems kinda hokey...

Any aircraft flying through the newly designated Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea must notify Chinese authorities in advance and follow instructions from its air-traffic controllers. America’s response was rapid. On November 26th Great Satan sent two B-52 bombers to fly through the new zone without notifying China

Plenty of countries establish zones in which they require aircraft to identify themselves, but they tend not to be over other countries’ territory. The Chinese ADIZ overlaps with Japan’s own air-defence zone. It also includes some specks of rock that Japan administers and calls the Senkaku islands (and which China claims and calls the Diaoyus), as well as a South Korean reef, known as Ieodo. The move is clearly designed to bolster China’s claims. On November 28th Japan and South Korea sent aircraft into the zone.

East Asia has never before had a strong China and a strong Japan at the same time. China dominated the region from the mists of history until the 1850s, when the West’s arrival spurred Japan to modernise while China tried to resist the foreigners’ influence. China is eager to re-establish dominance over the region. Bitterness at the memory of the barbaric Japanese occupation in the second world war sharpens this desire. It is this possibility of a clash between a rising and an established power that lies behind the oft-used parallel between contemporary East Asia and early 20th-century Europe, in which the Senkakus play the role of Sarajevo.

The ADIZ clearly suggests that China does not accept the status quo in the region and wants to change it. Any Chinese leader now has an excuse for going after Japanese planes. Chinese ships are already ignoring Japanese demands not to enter the waters surrounding the disputed islands.

China, it needs to behave like a responsible world power, not a troublemaker willing to sacrifice 60 years of peace in north-east Asia to score some points by grabbing a few windswept rocks. It should accept Japan’s suggestion of a military hotline, similar to the one that is already established between Beijing and Washington.

Pic - "Nine Dash Line!"