Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
July 25, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.

Statements and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors, not Truthdig. Truthdig takes no responsibility for such statements or opinions.

Truthdig Bazaar
The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949

The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949

By Benny Morris (Author), Roger Owen (Editor), Edmund Burke (Editor), Michael C. Hudson (Editor), Walid Kazziha (Editor), Rashid Khalidi (Editor), Serif Mardin (Editor)

more items

Ear to the Ground
Email this item Print this item

Playing Chicken in the East China Sea

Posted on Nov 29, 2013
jans canon (CC BY 2.0)

How do military incidents explode into a crisis?

Through stupidity. And we’re watching one such scenario unfold in the East China Sea.

Just days after the U.S, Japan and South Korea flew through China’s freshly declared air defense zone over the contested Senkaku Islands and an untapped natural gas field, China deployed fighter jets and an early warning aircraft to the region as “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices,” according to the BBC.

The move has raised concerns that jockeying for position could lead to a military showdown even as China seeks to remove some of the tension it created. Per the Guardian:

Taylor Fravel, an expert on regional security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said establishment of the zone increased the potential for an incident in the air that could spark a larger crisis. But he said tensions might ease if China continued to clarify the nature of the zone and how it intended to deal with unidentified aircraft, especially those flying through the zone but not heading toward China.

“China has always chafed at Japan’s ADIZ [air defense identification zone], which at some points is less than 150km from China and has been used by Japan to report intrusions into Japan’s airspace. China probably wants to level the playing field with Japan and increase the pressure on Tokyo regarding the disputed islands,” he said.

Japan does not acknowledge that the ownership of the islands is disputed. The US does not take a view on sovereignty but recognises Japan’s administrative control and has said the joint security pact covers the islands.

Many analysts think China is laying down a long-term marker, but did not anticipate the forceful response it has received from the US as well as Japan.

“I think the logic is that incrementally it will make other countries accustomed to China exerting an enhanced degree of authority in that space,” said Rory Medcalf of Australia’s Lowy Institute.

But there is enough concern that Vice President Joe Biden—who made foreign policy an area of expertise during his years in the U.S. Senate—plans to talk to Chinese and Japanese leaders about the issue during a weeklong Asia trip that starts Sunday. According to The Washington Post:

Officials said Biden will have high-level, wide-ranging talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his stop in Beijing, but they acknowledged that the vice president is likely to raise objections to China’s claim last weekend of control of an “air defense identification zone” over disputed waters between itself and U.S.-ally Japan.

Biden will “have the opportunity to make clear to the Chinese leadership that we have concerns and questions,” said a senior administration official during a conference call with reporters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. “But I think that underlying point here is that the strain caused by the series of actions by China in relations with its Asian neighbors is not a good thing. It’s not good for the United States; it’s not a good thing for anyone. I think the visit allows the vice president to discuss the issue of how China operates in international space and deals areas of disagreement with neighbors.”

—Posted by Scott Martelle.

Banner, End of Story, Desktop
Banner, End of Story, Mobile
Watch a selection of Wibbitz videos based on Truthdig stories:

Get a book from one of our contributors in the Truthdig Bazaar.

Get truth delivered to
your inbox every day.

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

Join the conversation

Load Comments
Right Top, Site wide - Care2
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right Internal Skyscraper, Site wide

Like Truthdig on Facebook