After both Japan and South Korea defied their newly established air defense identification zone (ADIZ) by flying military planes through it, China has deployed several warplanes into the area to patrol the zone. State news agency Xinhua reported that fighter jets and an early warning aircraft were sent on their normal surveillance mission in the highly controversial zone that overlaps with certain disputed territories between China and its neighbors.
China’s air force spokesman Shen Jinke said that they are on high alert and will remain in a defensive stance that is still aligned with “international common practices.” They are ready to take any measures to protect their airspace. This followed reports that both Japanese and South Korean planes flew through the zone without informing Chinese authorities, even as this is what they required of any foreign aircraft that will enter their airspace. China will not accede to South Korea’s demand that they take back their declaration of the ADIZ but will most likely soften their stance on the issue of requiring commercial aircraft to still inform their military if they are passing through.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang emphasized that the zone is not targeting commercial flights but is asking relevant countries to “proactively co-operate so there is more order and safety for flights.” When asked by reporters if the government was worried that they will be seen as a “paper tiger” due to its lack of response to the U.S. B-52 bombers that also defied their ADIZ regulations, Qin stressed that they are more than capable of defending their “national sovereign rights” and taking control of the airzone.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga meanwhile confirmed that their Self Defense Force sent patrol planes to survey the area, as part of their normal surveillance activity in the East China Sea. They did not see fit to inform Chinese authorities of their activity and have no plans of changing them “out of consideration” to the ADIZ. Japan believes this is an act of aggression as the zone overlaps with their own, particularly over the disputed islands of Senkaku/Diaoyu.
[ via The Guardian ]