The Chinese Ministry of National Defense issued a statement on Saturday on establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). This new action complies with China’s laws and has precedents to follow in the international community.
According to Chinese laws, China’s military forces are entitled to defend the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The US and Japan respectively established their own ADIZs in the 1950s and 1960s, and so far, more than 20 countries have followed suit.
The US has also extended the frontline of its ADIZ into the border of other countries, and Japan to an area which is only 130 kilometers away from China’s mainland. There is no reason why this firewall cannot become an option of the Chinese army to defend its legitimate national interests.
The establishment of an ADIZ is not to cause a crisis, but to prevent crises by supplying a system of precautions.
It should be noted that the basic principle of crisis prevention is to clarify the margins of interests, which can inform both sides about the limitations of certain actions.
It provides an early warning mechanism for unexpected visitors, especially provocative intruders. It will buy the defenders enough time to deal with the warning and get prepared for any possible scenarios.
Therefore, ADIZs are not established in order to intensify conflicts; on the contrary, they work as a shock absorber or a cushion valve, simplifying complicated issues, clarifying the ambiguous margins of interests, and reducing misjudgments and accidental casualties.
China’s establishment of an ADIZ in the East China Sea is a forced response to the aggressiveness of Japan which has threatened to fire warning shots against Chinese planes in its ADIZ, and deploy shore-to-ship missiles near the Miyako Strait, through which the Chinese navy enters the West Pacific.
In the second quarter of this year, Japanese jets were scrambled 69 times to interfere with the normal operation of Chinese jets. During the same period of last year, the number was only 15. Recently, the Japanese navy even sent warships to the waters where the Chinese navy was holding live-fire drills.
Therefore, drawing a cordon in the East China Sea will help China out of its passive position. It will also be an effective approach to safeguard international airlines that fly across the area.
Carping and irresponsible remarks about China establishing its own ADIZ are of no value at all. The White House has claimed that China’s new action will impact the interests of the US and its allies. US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that he was “deeply concerned” at China’s action and the US will not change its plan to conduct military drills in the East China Sea.
These claims by the US are ridiculous. How will the interests of the US and its allies be impacted when China establishes an ADIZ on its own doorstep? Why didn’t the US call Japan’s establishment of its ADIZ in 1969, including the Chinese Diaoyu Islands within the area, and the “nationalization” of the islands, “one-sided actions?”
It should be noted that the ADIZ is not a no-fly zone. China has been consistently respecting every country’s freedom of overflight as long as they comply with the international law and can be legally identified by the management of the ADIZ.
Cooperation and compliance will guarantee the safety of flight, but any moves that ignore the regulations and warnings will probably trigger defensive emergency measures of the Chinese army.
Threats will not sway China. Defending its own territory will always be the top priority.
Luo Yuan is the vice president of the China Strategy Culture Promotion Association.
© Global Times