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Thread: Japan, U.S. at Odds Over China's Air Zone

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    Japan, U.S. at Odds Over China's Air Zone

    Japan, U.S. at Odds Over China's Air Zone - WSJ.com

    Attachment 34523
    A naval soldier scanned the sea aboard the 'Liaoning,' China's first aircraft carrier, in an undated photograph. Xinhua/Reuters

    Japanese officials on Sunday played down publicly—but complained privately—that the U.S. isn't following Tokyo in rebuffing Beijing's demands for foreign airlines to file flight plans when navigating through China's new air-defense zone.

    The developments came as Japan openly questioned the Chinese military's ability to police the zone.

    Beijing said on Friday that it had dispatched fighter jets to monitor the area after the U.S. and Japan said their jets had entered in defiance of China's demands for notification.

    "Based on our evaluations, there was no Chinese fighter jet that came into close proximity of our planes. We did not experience anything unusual," Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said in an interview with national broadcaster NHK.

    Calls to China's foreign and defense ministries went unanswered early Monday.

    The Federal Aviation Administration has advised U.S. commercial airlines to abide by China's air-defense zone to avoid any possible miscommunications, Obama administration officials said. The State Department on Friday said it "generally expects" carriers to operate consistent with notices such as the one China put out about the establishment of the air-defense identification zone.

    The confusion surrounding the aviation rules highlighted the dilemma the Chinese zone posed for the Obama administration. While sending U.S. military aircraft to flout Beijing's rules, the administration also took steps designed to ensure the safety of commercial American flights in the region. And although U.S. officials acted swiftly to challenge the Chinese militarily on behalf of its ally Japan, Washington felt it necessary to stop short of Tokyo's aggressive response in the civil-aviation realm.

    White House officials declined to discuss the issue further on Sunday, referring inquires to the FAA and citing the State Department's earlier guidance. The State Department didn't respond to requests to comment, and an FAA spokeswoman didn't have any immediate comment.

    "I was taken aback when I heard this," Yukio Okamoto, a former senior Foreign Ministry official, said in an interview on Sunday with NHK. "I can't think of any case like this in the past where the U.S. took a step that hurt Japan's interests over an issue related directly to Japan's national security in a way visible to the whole world."

    While visiting a regional city on Sunday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, "We have confirmed through diplomatic channels that the U.S. government didn't request commercial carriers to submit flight plans."

    Speaking privately, Japanese officials said Washington has yet to coordinate views among government branches and come up with a unified stance that can be conveyed to Tokyo properly.

    U.S. carriers, caught between diplomatic pressures and safety considerations, are seeking a way to avoid further ratcheting up tensions, said a person familiar with the U.S. position. With the apparent blessing of the U.S., this person said, they are filing flight plans with both Japan and China. At the same time, affected routes are being modified to avoid disputed airspace as much as practicable.

    Earlier confusion over the official U.S. stance also may reflect different views among federal agencies, said another person tracking the issue, who said the FAA historically expects American carriers to comply with local flight-plan requirements.

    The air-defense zone issue primarily affects two U.S. airlines, United Continental Holdings Inc. UAL -0.46% and Delta Air Lines Inc., DAL -1.23% which have some flights within the region to and from locations outside China that previously wouldn't have been required to file flight plans with China.

    United, the largest U.S airline, on Sunday said it is "fully complying" with the FAA's requirements. Delta's routes from Tokyo to Taipei and Tokyo to Hong Kong traverse the new zone, so Delta is filing flight plans with China on those routes.

    The latest moves surfaced on the eve of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region. He is set to meet with Japanese officials before heading to China and South Korea.

    The U.S. military has backed Japan in the standoff against China, after Beijing unilaterally declared on Nov. 23 that it had established the new zone over East China Sea islands claimed by both countries.

    At the heart of the tensions are a group of small uninhabited islands called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. While the two countries have tangled openly over the territory for more than a year, global concern increased over the past week after China said it would begin policing the air zone around the islands.

    Satoshi Morimoto, a former defense minister who teaches security at Takushoku University, said Mr. Onodera's remarks suggest China wasn't able to "conduct a scramble against American planes even as they flew through its new zone." Japan must determine whether China has the capability to monitor the whole expanse of the ADIZ using radar located on the mainland and whether its pilots have the experience and expertise to go after foreign planes, Mr. Morimoto said on the NHK program.

    As officials fear the rising risks of unintended collisions, and with bilateral diplomatic channels with China barely functioning, Japan has quickly filed a complaint about the new air zone to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a United Nations agency that watches civil aviation.

    Commercial aviation will be among the pressing security-related issues Japanese officials are hoping to discuss with Mr. Biden during his stay in Tokyo, Japanese officials said.

    At his meeting with the vice president scheduled for Tuesday, Mr. Abe will press the U.S. to stand firm against China's unilateral attempt to establish its claim over the disputed islands, Japanese officials said. Together, the two allies are also likely to push Beijing to join in efforts to establish an emergency mechanism to avoid unintended clashes or deal with them should they occur.

    Mr. Biden will likely urge Japanese officials to mend their tattered ties with South Korea, which, like Japan, has also protested China's latest air-defense zone.

    "One of the main goals of Mr. Biden's visit was to make progress on the TPP," said Tomohiko Taniguchi, councilor at Cabinet Secretariat at the Prime Minister's office, referring to negotiations to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement before the end of December, Washington's stated goal. "That now appears to be taking a back seat."

    —Susan Carey, Julian E. Barnes and Jeremy Page contributed to this article.

    Write to Yuka Hayashi at yuka.hayashi@wsj.com and Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com

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    Looks like a back down that will surely anger the Japanese. Cause now the japanese govt will be seen as unnecessarily putting commercial passengers at risk.

    So whilst it seemed like the move meant an early loss in points, the game isnt over and china is playing the long game.

    This shouldnt have come as any surprise

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    Oh for crying out loud, it's an Air Defense Identification Zone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    Oh for crying out loud, it's an Air Defense Identification Zone.
    I know.. someone needs to tell that to the Japanese and the US leadership.

    Its a defensive mechanism, not a threat to anyone really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by winton View Post
    the game isnt over and china is playing the long game.

    This shouldnt have come as any surprise
    Rolling my eyes...

    last time I checked japan and south korea were also asian nations - and if we want to stereotype, playing the long game

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    From aust's earlier posts...

    Quote Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
    (from Medcalf, The Interpreter)

    "An ADIZ is not a provocative or negative step in itself; indeed, it can be in the interests of stability and security of the nation enforcing it. Many countries have such zones already, including Japan, South Korea and the US, which started the whole trend decades ago.

    If China’s new zone did not include disputed maritime territory, if its requirements for compliance applied only to aircraft heading into Chinese airspace, and if neighbours like Japan and South Korea had been consulted ahead of the announcement, then there would be little or nothing for others to object to. Indeed, it could have been part of a wider strategy of cooperation to reduce maritime security risks in North Asia.

    Instead, there are several things wrong with China's declared position:

    It is a unilateral step, announced suddenly and apparently without consultation with two countries whose civilian and military aircraft will be most affected, the US and Japan.
    It includes a contested maritime area, notably the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, and thus can be seen as a deliberate effort to change the status quo, even a provocation.
    Its ‘rules’ demanding that aircraft identify themselves and obey Chinese direction on flight paths seem to apply to all aircraft in the zone and not only aircraft en route to China. This conflicts with the basic early warning and air-traffic control purposes of an ADIZ, and with longstanding Pentagon regulations advising US military aircraft to comply with a foreign ADIZ only when they flying on a course into that country’s airspace, not when they are simply in transit or on patrol.
    It looks like a pretext for one of two undesirable security outcomes. If foreign aircraft now regularly obey the new Chinese rules, we will see precedents set for the unilateral expansion of Chinese authority over contested maritime territory. Alternately, if foreign aircraft contest or ignore the Chinese zone and a dangerous or deadly incident occurs (such as a collision or a forceful encounter), then China will have prepared the way to absolve itself of legal or moral blame, making it easier to use the incident as a justification to escalate the crisis if China so chooses.
    If the motive for establishing the ADIZ was solely or genuinely about the prevention of risky incidents, then China’s bureaucratic energies would have been better spent on reaching out and negotiating with Japan and America to craft effective ‘confidence-building measures’: communications protocols, hotlines and ‘rules of the road’, or incidents-at-sea (and in-the-air) agreements.

    Instead, tension has become the new normal in the East China Sea, and it won’t end here. It was striking that the official Chinese announcement of the new zone included these words:

    China will establish other Air Defense Identification Zones at the right moment after necessary preparations are completed.

    It sounds like we should expect another such zone over a substantial part of the South China Sea before too long"

    Quote Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
    I think its politically inept - and to me suggests a hawk at work rather than a moderate.

    there are broader issues hilighted beyond this immediate "decree"

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    The Japanese ADIZ extends over Ieodo Rock, off all places (even though they don't claim it, go figure).

    Can Ieodo unite Korea, Japan?
    Nisid Hajari
    2013-12-04 19:42

    Outraged commentators in Seoul have called on the government to extend its own air-defense zone into the area ― something that wasn’t considered necessary when the zone was drawn (by the U.S. Air Force) in 1951. In fact, until now the only defense zone that included the airspace above Socotra Rock belonged to Japan, which has made no claim on the feature whatsoever.
    [Nisid Hajari] Can Ieodo unite Korea, Japan?-?????

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    Quote Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
    Rolling my eyes...

    last time I checked japan and south korea were also asian nations - and if we want to stereotype, playing the long game
    Setting aside the geopolitical point scoring and the temper tantrums of the Japanese, don't you think establishing a ADIZ is a bonus for national defense or a negative moving forward. I think the earlier the warning one gets, the better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skywatcher View Post
    The Japanese ADIZ extends over Ieodo Rock, off all places (even though they don't claim it, go figure).
    I think what you are trying to say here is, "if its good enough for the goose its good enough for the gander."

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    Quote Originally Posted by gf0012-aust View Post
    I think its politically inept - and to me suggests a hawk at work rather than a moderate.

    there are broader issues hilighted beyond this immediate "decree"
    From reports it seems that prez Xi had a hand in this, so it doesn't suggest there is any split between hawks and doves in the PLA/CCP.

    wouldn't you agree that US reactionary flights by b52 where predictable and the response from china even more predictable given that china doesn't want to start WW3.

    Every other nation seems to be falling in line now and are reporting their flights to china. This is a geopolitical loss for the japanese.

    Setting geop aside I think we can clearly see that it enhances chinas national security. Any unidentified bogie would presumably be hostile to china. China has excercised its right to early warning. So the initial media storm was predictable but worth it to the chinese. China is now enjoying similar ADIZ security that Japan and the US have enjoyed for decades with their own ADIZ
    Last edited by winton; 05 Dec 13, at 02:41.

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    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by winton View Post
    From reports it seems that prez Xi had a hand in this, so it doesn't suggest there is any split between hawks and doves in the PLA/CCP.
    Any idea how the power struggle within the CCP is going ?

    The nationalists have the upper hand. Xi is trying to consolidate the most powerful groups.

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    U.S. sends new submarine-hunting jets to Japan amid East Asia tension
    By Tim Kelly and Phil Stewart

    TOKYO/WASHINGTON Mon Dec 2, 2013 4:43pm EST

    A P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane conducts flyovers above the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group on February 3, 2012 in this handout photo courtesy of the U.S. Navy.

    TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy's first two advanced P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft have arrived in Japan, U.S. military officials said on Monday, helping to upgrade America's ability to hunt submarines and other vessels in seas close to China as tension in the region mounts.

    The initial deployment - another four of the aircraft are due to arrive in the coming days - was planned before China last month established an air defense identification zone covering islands controlled by Japan and claimed by Beijing.

    The Pentagon says it is routinely flying operations in the region, including in China's newly declared air defense zone, without informing Beijing ahead of time.

    One U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters these routine operations include surveillance flights.

    The deployment of the P-8As came before U.S. Vice President Joe Biden left for Asia this week, where he is seeking to strike a balance between calming military tensions with China and supporting Japan as it wrangles with Beijing over the islands.

    The P-8As, built by Boeing Co based on its 737 passenger plane, were been built to replace the aging propeller-powered Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion patrol aircraft, which have been in service for 50 years.

    Equipped with the latest radar equipment and armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, the P-8A is able to fly further and stay out on a mission longer than the P-3.

    "The P-8A is the most advanced long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world," the Pentagon said.

    Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Pool, a Pentagon spokesman, said the first two P-8As arrived in Japan on Sunday. The other four were expected to arrive there later this week, a Navy spokeswoman said.

    One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the deployment came at a moment of region tensions. The official said the timing was a coincidence, but one that would bolster the U.S. military's efforts to monitor the maritime environment in the region.

    That includes the area around the disputed islands, known to the Japanese as the Senkakus and to the Chinese as the Daioyu, the official said.

    Washington takes no position on the sovereignty of the islands. However, it recognizes Tokyo's administrative control and says the U.S.-Japan security pact applies to them, a stance that could drag the United States into a military conflict it would prefer to avoid.

    (Editing by Nick Macfie and Christopher Wilson)

    U.S. sends new submarine-hunting jets to Japan amid East Asia tension | Reuters
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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    "First-blood" for the P8?
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge

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    I still don't understand why the United States is still not committing to a Cold War against China; it's certainly within its power to do so, and it can win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inst View Post
    I still don't understand why the United States is still not committing to a Cold War against China; it's certainly within its power to do so, and it can win.
    How would something like that unfold?

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