A Chinese general with the People’s Liberation Army says that their pilots have the right to shoot down any foreign aircraft flying in the newly established air defence identification zone (ADIZ) that will not respond to warnings and may seem “hostile.” The statement was made at about the same time as two U.S. B-52 bombers were spotted flying in the area near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands.
National Defence University professor and PLA major-general Qiao Liang said that the purpose of the ADIZ is to identify whether the aircraft is hostile or not, even as the rest of the world views it as an act that will worsen tensions between China and Japan, given that the new zone overlaps with Japan’s own. Qiao said regarding that issue, “In reverse, we could also argue their zone is overlapping ours. If overlapping is unavoidable, then negotiation is essential.” His statements has gotten mixed reactions from Chinese netizens, with some questioning his claims that the Chinese military has the authority to shoot down aircraft. One blogger said that the ADIZ’ purpose is not to intercept but to put an early warning system and “contain the situation.” Another commenter said that Qiao is not qualified to publicly say statements like that since he is “barely a major-general.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Defense Ministry acknowledged that they identified and tracked the U.S. aircraft that passed through the ADIZ but did not indicate any action towards the U.S., who also happens to be Japan’s strongest ally. This caused some netizens to express disappointment with how Beijing reacted or not reacted to the incident. One commenter said that he hopes the government will do more than just file a protest every time the U.S. or Japan will “carry out provocative acts.”
[ via South China Morning Post ]