Night Watch

China-Japan: On 23 November,Xinhua published announcements establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which covers the Diaoyou/Senkaku Islands, and the rules for flights in the new zone.

Comment: The new ADIZ overlaps the Japanese ADIZ which Tokyo declared in 1965. It ends 131kms from non-disputed Japanese territory, just as Japan's ends 131kms from non-disputed Chinese territory.

Multiple US commentators have described the announcement as an intensification of the war of words, but they confuse words with actions of the state. This is one of the most destabilizing developments in East Asia in more than ten years. The Chinese asserted theirsovereignty and exercised it with action, flying the first maritime patrol on the 23rd, escorted by fighters and an air warning and control aircraft. This converted the war of words potentially into a war. An ADIZ defines a battle space.

Some commentators have said this increases the chances for accidental clashes. Actually, this is a deliberate action to control and manage planned or expected confrontations in the air. There is nothing accidental about it.

Japan could construe this as an act of war. At a minimum the declaration is a direct military challenge to Japan and a provocation. Unchallenged, this sets the precedent for China to make a parallel declaration of an ADIZ for all of the South China Sea. That would be consistent with President Xi's vision of the Chinese Dream.

Xinhua also published the flight rules for the ADIZ.

"The Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China, in accordance with the Statement by the Government of the People's Republic of China on Establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, now announces the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone as follows:

First, aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone must abide by these rules.

Second, aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone must provide the following means of identification:

1. Flight plan identification. Aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone should report the flight plans to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China or the Civil Aviation Administration of China.


Night Watch

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