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  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 3:44pm

Diaoyu Islands

The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands. 

NewsChina
Disputed Territories

Fear of conflict with Japan as China sets up air defence zone

Militarised area over disputed East China Sea islands 'extremely dangerous', says Japan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 1:27pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 November, 2013, 2:10pm

China's announcement yesterday that it had established an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea that includes the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, would greatly raise tensions and the risk of armed conflict, experts from both nations warned.

The PLA said the zone, part of which overlaps Japan's ADIZ, became effective at 10am.

Hours later, Beijing's new air force spokesman Colonel Shen Jinke said China had sent two large surveillance aircraft "to conduct the first patrol mission" in the new zone, escorted by an early-warning airplane and other multi-purpose jets.

All aircraft entering the ADIZ would have to provide their flight plans, nationalities and maintain two-way radio contact allowing them to "respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries" from Chinese authorities. Civil aviation would not be affected.

Japan's foreign ministry yesterday lodged a "serious protest" to China, saying such a move was "extremely dangerous" and "could trigger unpredictable events", according to Junichi Ihara, chief of the ministry's Asian and Oceania Affairs Bureau. Taiwan, which also claims sovereignty over the disputed islands, expressed regrets.

Although the Chinese defence ministry claimed the zone was not targeting any specific country, Xu Guangyu , a retired PLA general, said China was only "exercising its self-defence rights" in response to Japan's expansion of its ADIZ since the early 1970s and moves to limit China's rights to fly in the region.

Experts warned that tension in the region would inevitably rise, especially because of the overlapping of the zones.

Mainland-based Sino Japanese expert Liu Jiangyong said the chance of miscalculations would increase.

"The air space above the tiny Diaoyus is so small that it is possible for high-speed fighter jets to crash into each other," Liu said.

Jun Okumura, a visiting scholar at the Meiji Institute for Global Affairs, said: "I fully expect that the next time a Chinese aircraft flies into Japanese air space, Japanese fighters will be scrambled, there will be a war of words in the air and there could very well be shots fired, although I expect they would not be threatening shots.

"I do not think either side will want to get into anything more serious, but these changes do now mean there is a far more serious likelihood of miscalculation," Okumura added.

He pointed to an incident in 2001 in which a US Navy Orion EP-3 surveillance aircraft collided with a Chinese fighter over Hainan Island.

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This article is now closed to comments

lwbing
Once again, the report tries to portray China as the bad guy, conveniently forgetting to mention that Japan claims and maintains a similar air defence zone in the area long before China did, and the Japanese zone, like China's, extends over the disputed Diaoyu Islands. If Japan has a right to claim such a zone, then surely so does China.
Hollander323
The Japanese is actually in control of the entire situation, they initiated incidents to provoke China one after the other, the reaction from China is exactly what the Japanese has planned for. With the increasing Japanese inflicted threats from China, therefore supports from Japanese voters, Japan is now alot closer to revising their post war defensive only constitution. Once the constitution is revised, with the mighty economic and military powers of Japan today, the Japanese can be as offensive as they were in their old days. This is the real danger of the entire episode! The American government is watching and they know very well of this threat to regional stability, but probably not the American and the Japanese people.
jiawang@adb.org
The US is using China and North Korea as the boogeyman to scare Asian countries and provide cover for the Japanese military to rebuild. The US wants Japan to help it control China.
The US thinks it controls the situation but, by letting the Japanese genie out the bottle, the US has created a new problem for itself. Japan has its own agenda and that doesn't include the US in its future.
The US may pick up a rock to throw at China but will end up dropping it on its own feet.
lib_hk

SCMP has never known to be China's cheerleader...it does a far better job cheering anyone who is anti-China...well done SCMP!
babyhenry
BS. The Japanese privatizing the island is what trigger all this Fiasco, the fact is anything China does will be consider as provocative by blind China bashers like yourself. Its funny where the Japanese maintain such a provocative zone over the Diaoyu island, no one is going to say Japan is provoking China.
XYZ
This is just the sort of provocative act that will invite compensatory measures by the Japanese and thereby makes the possibility of a Sino-Japanese war more likely. Is that what either one of these nations or their leaders want?
amunro
China's move is dangerous and irresponsible. It is untrue to say that commercial flights are not affected. Some people might remember the Sahkalin islands incident when another group of commie b8stards shot down a Korean passenger plane.
lib_hk

The true question for China is "What would Mr. Mao have done if he were in the shoes of today's Mr. Xi?"
alpot_scmp
China is such a bully.
321manu
For a regime that parrots "regional stability" at the drop of a hat, this is a curious move. Not to mention that this airspace claim has no international legitimacy. This will simply trigger a parade of "surveillance" aircraft from both sides.

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