The Pentagon revealed Wednesday that the US had flown two unarmed B-52 bombers over China's newly established East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on Tuesday morning. The Pentagon claimed the flight was part of a long-planned training exercise in the area on the one hand and demonstrated its defiance against Beijing's new air defense rules on the other.
China's Ministry of National Defense responded to the so-called mission carried out by Washington by saying that it had monitored the entire process of the US bombers through the zone. The US deliberately ignored the existence of the new ADIZ of China which, however, made a powerful reply that the zone is in operation.
According to some reports from international media and reactions from Chinese Web users, the US seems to have gained the upper hand with its action that plunged China into a relatively passive situation. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the ADIZ has indeed given full play to its role of national defense.
Tokyo and Washington are unlikely to accept China's ADIZ through which Beijing will master all the US and Japanese military activities over the East China Sea. In actuality China will not inform them of its aircraft passing through their Air Defense Identification Zones. Not identical to airspace, the ADIZ is supposed to devote its role of identification to safeguard national security.
The air defense zone, however, has become a trigger of a political row over the East China Sea because it overlaps with the Japanese ADIZ over the Diaoyu Islands. Objectively speaking, China's establishment of the zone is conducive to identifying aircraft and thus avoiding unexpected frictions, but takes on another implication in public opinion.
Beijing has made a rather normal response to the flight of the two B-52 bombers by following and supervising them. What's unusual is that the US took a deviant move when disclosing that they had "conducted operations" in the area of the Diaoyu Islands and publicly posed a challenge to China's defense rules. This has nothing to do with military frictions but can only be viewed as a war of public opinion directed against Beijing.
China's ADIZ withstood the test but we failed in offering a timely and ideal response as we have been inundated with an inconceivably large amount of information that is adverse to the new zone and will probably even undermine the image of our military forces in this transient Internet age.
Therefore Chinese authorities must make speedy reactions to various emergencies and challenges and delegate such power to relevant departments and officials, who should meanwhile assume more responsibility to cope with sensitive issues.
Beijing needs to reform its information release mechanism to win the psychological battles waged by Washington and Tokyo. Increasing morale and cohesion of the Chinese people constitutes the fundamental cornerstone to properly handle diplomatic relations.
China ‘observes’ US B-52s
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