China's Ministry of National Defense
issued a statement on the establishment of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday and its air force immediately conducted the first air patrol. Japan reacted fiercely to the identification zone set up by China because it overlaps with that of Japan covering the Diaoyu Islands. Apart from a strong protest against Beijing, Japan's Ministry of Defense also convened an emergency meeting to call on the Air Self-Defense Forces to keep highly vigilant.
However, Tokyo is hypocritical and impudent in its complaint with Beijing, calling the establishment of the zone "totally unacceptable." It is widely known that Japan has set up air defense identification zones in every direction, 50 kilometers to Russia in the north and 130 kilometers to China's mainland in the east. China has every fair and legitimate reason to establish its own air defense zone. Chinese defense ministry has made it clear that "it is not directed against any specific country or target" and that is China's stance to avoid escalated tensions.
But Japan has been provoking neighboring countries with aggressive remarks and actions from time to time. It frequently announced that China's airplanes entered its air defense identification zone, fueling confrontation between the two powers in East Asia. Nonetheless, entering the zone and "invading airspace" are starkly different concepts.
Given the present scenario in the East China Sea, it is an irresistible trend for China to establish an air defense identification zone. Washington has given a rather vague response and Tokyo has made harsh comments but we hope that the Abe administration will remain rational and restrained in action. If Japan sends warplanes to "intercept" China's jet fighters, Beijing's armed forces will be bound to adopt defensive emergency measures. Both China and Japan shall assume the responsibility to work for détente in the East China Sea.
The territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands has become a deadlock between Beijing and Tokyo and neither side should imagine complete domination of the situation on the islets. Now despite provocative rhetorics, Japan has generally accepted China's way of safeguarding its rights over the Diaoyu Islands and a complicated new situation has come into being.
What Tokyo will do in light of the overlapped area demarcated by the zones of the two countries is critical to the peace and stability in the East China Sea. We support the establishment of an air defense identification zone that will facilitate the rest of the world in recognizing China's determination to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Meanwhile we suggest an effective crisis management mechanism be set up between the two sides.
China has not declared any target by setting up the air defense zone but will definitely respond to unscrupulous provocateurs to the zone.