SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
FRI Nov 28, 2014
Air Defense Identification Zone
The Air Defense Identification Zone is airspace over land or water in which the ready identification, location, and control of civil aircraft over land or water is required in the interest of national security. China’s Defense Ministry announced its ADIZ over a vast area in the East China Sea on November 23, 2013, which covers the area around the Diaoyu islands, controlled by Japan and known as the Senkaku Islands. The establishment of this zone drew strong opposition from Japan, the US and South Korea, becoming a flashpoint in East Asian politics and security.
Beijing says it has ensured stability with air defense zone
Military says it has ensured safety in the East China Sea identification zone, set up a year ago, but analysts caution the situation could change
TEDDY NG IN BEIJING
PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 November, 2014, 5:31am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 November, 2014, 9:18am
Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng says China had strengthened its surveillance of foreign aircraft over the East China Sea since the zone’s establishment.
Beijing’s controversial air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea has ensured safety and security, the Defense Ministry said yesterday, dismissing criticism that it had exacerbated regional tension.
Analysts said that despite occasional showdowns, there had not been any major conflict between China and Japan since Beijing unilaterally announced the zone a year ago. But a flare-up could still occur if Beijing decided to apply its rules for the zone more forcefully, possibly step by step over time, one analyst said.
Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng told a monthly press briefing that China had strengthened its surveillance of foreign aircraft over the East China Sea since the zone’s establishment.
“Over the past year, we have maintained airborne safety and stability over the East China Sea, and safeguarded order in the area,” he said.
But Geng sidestepped questions on whether Beijing would announce a similar zone for the South China Sea, which is at the center of other long-running disputes between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbours.
“We are confident about the overall stability of the South China Sea and our relationship with neighboring countries,” Geng said.
Beijing announced the East China Sea zone on November 23 last year and required aircraft flying through the area to give notification of their nationality and flight plans.
The area covers most of the East China Sea including air space over the Diaoyu Islands, the focal point of a long-running sovereignty row between Beijing and Tokyo. Japan controls the islands, which it calls the Senkakus.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the time of the zone’s establishment that the move “was a profoundly dangerous act”. South Korea also expressed dismay over the zone, which overlaps South Korea’s own air defense area.
Zhang Baohui , a security specialist at Lingnan University, said the repercussions from the zone’s declaration were less serious than expected, even though both nations had sent more aircraft and vessels to the region. “We haven’t seen any large-scale incidents or collisions, and it seems that the zone has had no serious impact on other nations,” Zhang said.
Mathieu Duchatel, head of the China and Global Security Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said Beijing had not fully enforced the rules of the zone, such as the notification requirement, but it might apply the rules more forcefully in the future.
“I think that, step by step, there will be more enforcement in the future,” Duchatel said. “In the short term, both sides are serious about crisis management and this will help keep tensions at a low level.”