China will not revoke ADIZ, due to its military and diplomatic necessity

By Zhou Yongsheng Source:Global Times Published: 2013-12-4 19:58:01

The East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) has recently been the focal point of controversy. The Japanese government has waged wars of public opinion and a diplomatic offensive to demand China withdraw its ADIZ and threatened to handle the issue harshly. Combat aircraft from countries like Japan and the US flew across China's ADIZ without notifying China in advance, testing boundaries to see what they can get away with, while China monitored the moves throughout.

In face of such opposition and provocations, will China revoke its newly established ADIZ? The answer is apparently "no."

The Western criticisms toward China over the ADIZ are arrogant, groundless and show double standards. There is no need for China to surrender to the pressure, not to mention the fact that China now has the strength to stand up to provocations.

China's decision to create the ADIZ was out of its own security concerns rather than targeting any other country, which is in line with the UN Charter and the principle of international law to exert nations' rights to self defense.

Establishment of an ADIZ doesn't expand China's power, but helps maintain the order and the security within the zone.

Countries like Japan and the US all have their own ADIZs, and it's unequal and biased to reproach China's move to set up the zone. Japan expanded the area of its ADIZ in 1972 to include the Diaoyu Islands. In June 2010, it again unilaterally expanded the ADIZ in the East China Sea by 22 kilometers to include Yonaguni Island. They have no reason to point fingers at China.

Some media made exaggerated claims, saying China appeared to be showing bravado after the US defiantly sent two B-52 bombers to cruise around China's new ADIZ, as China didn't actually dispatch operational aircraft to monitor or intercept the two aircraft.

However, it's also an effective form of management to follow and supervise the flights using ground-based radar within the ADIZ. Sending aircraft to conduct close monitoring is not necessary every time to deal with provocations. China will not be led by the nose, but will respond based on its own demands and the real situation within its ADIZ.

With the flyover by the US and Japanese aircraft in China's ADIZ, the countries challenged China but did not pose real threats, therefore, it was enough for China to supervise through ground-based radar.

This is not because China was backpedaling, it was instead a proper judgment based on the situation. Nonetheless, if some countries brazenly send fighters to enter into China's territory above the Diaoyu Islands, Chinese combat aircraft will surely intercept, disperse and even shoot them down.

China's reactions to provocations by some countries should also be restrained due to military and diplomatic concerns.

It's noticeable that the US also restrained itself when it allowed its two B-52 bombers to fly across China's ADIZ without informing China of the flights in advance at China's request.

The two aircraft, which weren't equipped with arms, only flew in the eastern peripheral region of the ADIZ and didn't go deeper. Washington also explained that the flights were not an intentional provocation, but scheduled before China's establishment of the ADIZ.

This demonstrates the US was not making reckless moves to provoke Beijing, and China should also avoid escalating the conflicts when making counterstrikes. Building up a new type of major power relationship remains the mainstream goal of China-US relations.

But if some countries attempt to cross the line, sending aircraft to interfere in China's oil and gas production and violating China's sovereignty in airspace, China should decisively fight back with no mercy.

The author is deputy director of the Japan Study Center at China Foreign Affairs University.

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