East China Sea

Review: A Few Questions About China’s Air Defense Identification Zone and Its Aftermath

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March 21, 2014 | Dr. David Lai

China declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea on November 23, 2013 (See Figure 1). This move set off a security and political tsunami in the Western Pacific. The United States immediately denounced China’s sudden and unilateral act. Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, the European Union, and many other nations also joined the United States in criticizing China.

       Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the strongest stand by challenging China to roll back the ADIZ. In his angry address to a parliamentary session in Tokyo, Abe stated that the “measures taken by the Chinese side have no validity whatsoever to Japan, and we demand China revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace.”1
      Following this wave of condemnations, the United States also sent two B-52 bombers (based on Guam) into the Chinese-claimed ADIZ in a stated effort to challenge China’s position. Japan and South Korea also scrambled their fighter jets into the troubled airspace. This flare-up took place only a few days prior to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s long-planned visit to Northeast Asia that included stops in Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul. The Vice President’s visit was originally intended to promote U.S. economic and security interests in this region. The sudden turn of events in Northeast Asia had turned the Vice President’s trip into crisis management diplomacy. Read the rest of this entry »