Night Watch

China: Chinese, South Korean, Japanese and US military aircraft have been active in the air defense zone that China declared on 23 November. No shooting incidents have been reported. China looks foolish for having made a declaration that it cannot enforce.A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said China's air force has the right to patrol the country's Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea.

Comment: Actually what the spokesman said represents China's argument. The facts are contrary. China declared a protected territorial zone over territory it does not occupy. It has the power, but not the right to make such a declaration. The right is that of the occupant or owner. Whenever a claimant asserts such a right, it is a de facto challenge to the occupying power and fundamentally destabilizing.

Destabilization is the key point of congtention in the Chinese declaration. The public statements published after every important party and government meeting this year have stressed the importance of stability as the essential condition for Chinese economic progress. Chinese diplomats have impressed the need for stability even on their North Korean counterparts.

The policy emphasis on stability is contradictory to the policy of protecting Chinese claims to sovereignty in Asia. Chinese leaders have set in motion fundamentally inconsistent policies and are stuck with the problem of trying to square a circle. The assertion of the air defense identification zone is completely contrary to China's counsel to North Korea to not stir up trouble.

Chinese military leaders and sovereignty hard-liners have moved too fast in two respects. They have issued declarations that exceed China's enforcement capabilities and they have issued rules that inherently destabilize northeast Asia, which party leaders have insisted repeatedly must remain stable.

This is a major embarrassment for China. No civil air carriers need pay attention to the Chinese rules or any rules that exceed the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Taiwan: President Ma Ying-jeou called for countries concerned about China's newly declared Air Defense Identification Zone, or ADIZ, over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands to hold talks with Beijing as soon as possible.

Night Watch

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