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Defence & Aerospace

China: Why are Japan and America so concerned about this map?

 East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

China’s Ministry of National Defense issued this map establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. The ministry claims that the zone is “not directed against any specific country or target,” which is a bit hard to buy given that it overlaps significantly with Japan’s air defense zone in the region: it includes the disputed islands known as the Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.

According to China, all aircraft entering the zone must identify themselves and could possibly be subject to “defensive emergency measures” if they don’t comply with Chinese directives.

Predictably, the establishment of the zone has set off a war of words between the Chinese and Japanese governments. Each country has summoned the other’s ambassador, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who also hasn’t exactly done all he could to de-escalate the situation over the past year, warned that it “can invite an unexpected occurrence and it is a very dangerous thing as well.” Secretary of State John Kerry also weighed in, saying that the U.S. isdeeply concerned” about the development. In response, China’s Foreign Ministry urged the U.S. to “make no more inappropriate remarks” about the zone.

There are some doubts about whether China actually has the radar capability to enforce the zone, and it’s not quite clear yet whether China actually plans to enforce it or if this is merely a political gesture to placate hardline nationalists who have been agitating for the government to take a make a stronger stand on the island.

Japan scrambled two F-15s to intercept Chinese surveillance planes near the islands on Saturday. Thankfully, the incident was resolved quickly after the Chinese planes turned back, though it was an illustration of how quickly a confrontation over the islands could spin out of control through accident or overreach.

The island dispute doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the U.S., and by and large, Americans don’t care about these uninhabited rocks nearly as much as the parties involved seem to think we do. But like it or not, the U.S. is going to continue to be dragged into the conflict, and given the countries involved and the level of emotions on both sides, it’s really a much more dangerous situation than most Americans realize.

About Political Atheist

Living in South East Asia (Vietnam & Cambodia). At the ending/starting point of the more than 1000 year old SIlk Road.


5 thoughts on “China: Why are Japan and America so concerned about this map?

  1. It certainly appears that China is desperate for a war to show off their new military might. A war with Japan will be a lose-lose for China. If China were to be defeated they would lose all credibility. If they win they destabilise the entire region.

    I wish one day, some of the decision makers would read a history book. Just once. China’s beligerance with it’s neighbours seems totally self-destructive. It is making enemies every where when it should be making allies.


    Posted by Leigh | November 26, 2013, 4:36 pm
    • I don’t think China can afford to lose and be the laughing stock in Asia. It has to escalate the war, should one starts, in order to make the PM Abe realise that his public statements cannot be left unchallenged.

      Abe has not been pursuing quiet diplomacy but instead negotiating his terms through the international media which is bound to create more misunderstanding.

      The US may be bound to step in by treaty on Japan’s side which will certainly be a broadening and drastic escalation of the war, but I am of the view that China will not back down and has decided to take the war to a higher level if the US gets involve.


      Posted by Asianviews | November 27, 2013, 12:01 am
      • Sadly, the ultimate reason for a war will be irrationality or miscalculation.Higher moral high-ground or actual true ownership of those inanimate rocks is grossly irrelevant. Most people ignore this sad fact.


        Posted by jefferson santos | December 1, 2013, 12:43 am


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