Monday, 25 November 2013

China sets up air defence zone over East China Sea, a strategic move




The Chinese government on Saturday issued a statement on establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.

The move, however, provoked anger in Japan, which accused China of "one-sidedly" setting up the zone that covers the disputed Diaoyu islands, and described the zone as "totally unacceptable."

Having no intention to generate tensions, China's move is to uphold its own legitimate rights and safeguard what has always been its own.

As pointed out by many military experts, the establishment of the air zone is a necessary, rightful and totally legitimate measure taken by China in protecting its sovereignty and providing air security.

Actually, the establishment of the air zone is not only perfectly legitimate, but also in line with current international practice.

An air defense identification zone is established by a maritime nation to guard against potential air threats. Since the 1950s, more than 20 countries, including the United States, Australia, Germany and Japan itself, have successively established such zones.

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun has stressed that the zone "has no particular target and will not affect the freedom of flight in relevant airspace."

Since the zone is both in line with the UN Charter and in respect of relevant international laws and customs, China has every right to decide on its own whether to set up such zones, without getting permission from any other countries.

And Japan should know better than to continue its overreaction and learn to accept the "unacceptable."

On Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced concerns over the zone, fearing it might "constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea," and increase tensions and risks in the region.

But is it China to blame for upsetting the status quo over the islands?

The status quo of the Diaoyu islands, which had lasted for decades under the principle of shelving the dispute, has already been broken more than one year ago when the Japanese government launched a unilateral move to "purchase" and "nationalize" the islands.

The farce of "buying" the Chinese territories is a sign of Japan's expanding nationalism and growing belligerence, which should be identified as the real danger in the region.

Instead of "increasing tensions and creating risks," the setup of China's air zone could contribute much to regional peace and security by curbing the increasing rampancy of Japan's right-wing forces, as well as the continuous and dangerous provocations of Japanese politicians, which even Washington should be vigilant against.

The White House has repeatedly said that the United States does not take a position on territorial disputes between China and Japan, a neutral stance the Chinese government has appreciated.

But keeping a blind eye to the dangerous tendency in Japan could prove to be risky and might even jeopardize the US national interests.

Air defense identification zone a strategic decision: experts

The establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone is a strategic decision in accordance with China's current national security situation, experts said.

"Setting up the air defense identification zone can effectively safeguard national sovereignty and security," said Zhang Junshe, a military expert, adding that the move conforms to the fundamental spirit and principle of international law.

The Chinese government issued a statement on Saturday morning on establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. It also issued an announcement on the aircraft identification rules and a diagram for the zone.

According to the announcement, China will take timely measures to deal with air threats and unidentified flying objects from the sea, including identification, monitoring, control and disposition.

"The move also accords with common international practices as the United States and Canada took the lead around the world in setting up such zones starting in the 1950s," said Xing Hongbo, a military and legal expert, adding that more than 20 countries have set up air defense identification zones since then.

"Various aircraft with high altitude and high-speed flying capabilities have been broadly used around the world with the development of aviation technology, and it's hard for China to identify an unidentified flying object and adopt countermeasures immediately," said Meng Xiangqing, a military expert.

The establishment of the zone can help set aside early warning time to ascertain an aircraft's purpose and attributes and adopt measures to protect air defense security, Meng said. - Xinhua

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