Japan objects to East
China Sea defense zone
China yesterday declared an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East
China Sea amid a territorial dispute with Japan, warning its armed forces will
take defensive emergency measures if aircraft fail to comply.
A map, details of the zone¡¦s coordinates and rules governing the area were
posted on the Chinese Ministry of Defense¡¦s Web site yesterday, along with a
question-and-answer statement from Yang Yujun (·¨¦tx), a ministry spokesman.
Japan¡¦s Foreign Ministry lodged a complaint with China over the zone, Kyodo News
The move risks heightening tensions between Asia¡¦s two biggest economies which
are in dispute over the ownership of islets known as the Diaoyutai Islands (³¨³½¥x)
in Taiwan and Senkakus in Japan.
The islands lie inside the zone and Taiwan, China and Japan claim sovereignty
over the surrounding waters, which are reportedly rich in oil, natural gas and
¡§This is a necessary measure taken by China in exercising its self-defense
right,¡¨ Yang said, according to the English-language statement.
¡§It is not directed against any specific country or target. It does not affect
the freedom of over-flight in the related airspace,¡¨ Yang added.
Japan strongly objects to China setting up the zone and including the islands in
the area, Kyodo News reported, citing the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
The No. 2 at the Japanese embassy in Beijing and the Japanese defense attache
made protests to China¡¦s foreign ministry and defense ministry, an embassy
official, who asked not to be identified in line with policy, said in a
They told Chinese officials that the action was dangerous, could escalate the
situation surrounding the islands and invite an unpredictable situation, he
The regulations governing the zone were effective as of 10am Beijing time
yesterday, according to the defense ministry, which did not specify what
measures might be taken against aircraft that do not cooperate with
identification requirements or follow its instructions.
The rules include reporting flight plans to China¡¦s Foreign Ministry or civil
aviation authorities, and providing radio and logo identification of aircraft,
the Chinese defense ministry said.
The Chinese air force conducted its first patrol inside the zone yesterday,
comprising two reconnaissance plans with fighter jets and early-warning aircraft
in support, the ministry said in a separate statement.
The announcement of the zone follows a decision by Chinese Communist Party
leaders last week to form a state committee to better coordinate security issues
as the country expands its military reach and faces growing dissent at home.
Many countries, including Japan and the US, enforce ADIZs, airspace where the
identification, location and control of aircraft are required in the interest of
More than 20 countries, including some of China¡¦s neighbors, have stipulated
such zones since the 1950s, Yang said, adding that the Chinese government¡¦s
action is in line with international laws and customs.
The easternmost point of the East China Sea zone is so close to China that
combat aircraft can soon reach China¡¦s territorial airspace from the point, Yang
Therefore it is necessary for China to identify any aircraft from this point to
assess its intentions and examine its identity so as to allow enough
early-warning time for responsive measures in maintaining air security.
Normal flights by international airlines in the zone will not be affected in any
way, Yang said.
China successfully conducted a test flight of its first stealth combat drone,
the Beijing Times reported on Friday, citing an unidentified witness to the
Since the Japanese government in September last year bought three of the
disputed islands from a private owner, patrol boats from the two countries have
tailed one another through the area and the row has damaged trade and tourism
Last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would not permit China to
use force to resolve territorial spats and Japan¡¦s Self-Defense Forces said
fighter jets were sent out after Chinese aircraft flew between its southern
islands without entering Japanese airspace.