US has made a blunder in its reaction to air defense zone

US has made a blunder in its reaction to air defense zone
Global Times | 2013-12-2 19:08:01
By Clifford A. Kiracofe
Illustration: Peter C.Espina/GT
Illustration: Peter C.Espina/GT

Washington's maladroit handling of China's newly announced Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) unnecessarily muddies the waters and raises tensions over the East China Sea. Rather than reacting calmly in a diplomatic manner, the US immediately militarized the situation by sending B-52 bombers into China's zone.

No doubt Asians will draw conclusions from Washington's latest "bull in the China shop" approach to regional security issues. Some conclusions may not be favorable to the US and its long-term interests, given this latest example of US cowboy behavior.

Aviation around the globe is governed under international law by the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and is coordinated and regulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a part of the UN system.

An ADIZ is defined by legal experts to be an area in airspace over water or land which may not necessarily be over the sovereign territory of a state in which identification, locations, and control of all aircraft must be provided in the interest of national security.

Washington's berating China over its new ADIZ gives the appearance of double standards. The US in fact maintains four ADIZ zones: the Contiguous US ADIZ, Alaska ADIZ, Guam ADIZ and the Hawaii ADIZ.

There are over 20 countries in the world which have ADIZs including the UK, Pakistan, and India. South Korea established its ADIZ in 1951, and Japan established its ADIZ in the 1960s and extended it in 2010.

ADIZ areas are not directly under the Chicago Convention, but can lend support to the convention's objectives of promoting peace and security, legal scholars say. ADIZ areas operate under the procedures given by the countries which establish them.

The US has its own unique procedures for its four ADIZ areas, and it has its own unique procedures for the US military to deal with foreign ADIZ areas, such as the procedures found in the US navy's Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations.

The Obama administration's heated reaction to China's ADIZ announcement was directed not only against the Chinese ADIZ generally, but also against China's inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands in it.

Washington's accusation that the zone is a destabilizing move implies that China does not have the right to establish such a zone while Japan does.

But how is it that over 20 countries around the world established such zones and have been within their rights to do so while Washington berates China?

In fact, the US action is unprecedented as no such formal protest against the establishment of an ADIZ has been lodged before against any country, experts say.

Japan includes the Diaoyu Islands within its ADIZ. Why should China not do the same? Given that the islands are a well-known matter of international legal dispute, both sides would seem to have the right to include them in their respective ADIZ areas.

For over four decades, there has been disagreement in US policy circles over the issue of the Diaoyu Islands with respect to their inclusion in the US-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.

Some US officials, such as Walter Mondale when he was vice president of the US, maintained that the islands do not fall under the treaty obligations of the US. Other officials leaning toward the Japanese side, such as Kurt Campbell, alleged that they do fall under the treaty. The Obama administration follows the Campbell line.

Washington says it is neutral in the territorial dispute, but its actions clearly do not match its words.

By including these disputed islands within the mutual defense treaty, Washington binds itself unnecessarily to the Japanese side, and thus is not neutral. Irresponsible actions concerning these islands by an increasingly extremist Japan could quite unnecessarily plunge the US into a war in a worst-case scenario.

China is well within its rights under international law and practice to establish an ADIZ in order to enhance its national security. It is certainly time for Washington to drop its Cold War thinking and cowboy behavior in the Asia-Pacific region.

The author is an educator and former senior professional staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn


Anonymous said...

shitty times one article is starting to compare China with imperial Germany. the article by Martin Wolf did not mention a word about the existing adiz of Jpan. Not very objective reporting.

Anonymous said...

What is the agenda of shitty times?

Anonymous said...

Is Joe Biden another Kevin Rudd, smiling all the time but screwing China behind its back?

Anonymous said...

Shitty Times has a strong bias against China because its editor is an Ah Neh. All ah nehs have strong inferior complex vis avis the Chinese.
Ah neh's former master imperial Britain had illegally occupied hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of Chinese land in the 1910s. When India was independent it refused to negotiate with China for the peaceful return of those lands to China. Instead it encroached even more of Chinese land. This resulted in the Sino-Indian war in 1962 in which the Ah Nehs were completely devastated by the Chinese peasant armies. Though victorious the Chinese army returned arbitrarily to the former actual line of control ( The Mcmahon Line ) set by Imperial Britain. The Chinese could have easily marched into Delhi but they did not. After the war India and the West though not the third world countries ironically blamed China as an aggressor. They refused to appreciate the goodwill of China for not marching into Delhi and for returning arbitrarily to the original actual line of control for China could have legally taken back all her lost territories.

Though this shitty editor of shitty times is a Singaporean we should know where his sympathy lies and that all his shitty reports are always nuanced against China and the Chinese people.


Veritas said...

Almost 99% of white man media as well as straits time is anti China.

I have seen Straits Times using Senkaku more decades over decades.

The 1962 war is a just war. Indians hate us for that. What if Dalai took Tibet? They will want back S Tibet as well.

Veritas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
b said...

America is fundamentally bankrupt and they can only substain if they eat up the wealth of europe, russia, china, arabs. Cooperation is needed to stop the great war and tame the monster.

Anonymous said...

taiwanese media says US is playing '2 hands tactics'.. when in Japan note the emphasis on the word 'united', sure their intention is to create a perception that US, Japan and SKorea are united against China as portrayed in their media.

just wait and see for the headline by shitty times when Biden goes to Seoul!

Anonymous said...

The Okinotorishima is a classic example of Japan's aggressive expansion of her territorial limits. It is a coral atoll half-way between Japan and Guam, originally consisting of a few small rocks barely above high water mark. Japan has claimed a 400,000 sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around this atoll, disputed by China. Only islands can claim an EEZ around them . The area has three tiny artificial islets now: Higashi-Kojima, Kita-Kojima, Minami-Kojima.

"Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an island is "a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide". It states that "rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone." Japan signed the Convention in 1983; the Convention came into force in 1994–1996 for Japan."

"In order to prevent the island from submersion caused by erosion and maintain the claim to the EEZ, the Japanese government launched an embankment building project in 1987, and Higashikojima and Kitakojima were surrounded by concrete. Japan has encased the reefs with $280 million worth of concrete and covered the smaller one with a $50 million titanium net to shield it from debris thrown up by the ocean's waves. In fact, the Japanese government has spent over $600 million fortifying the reefs to prevent them from being completely washed away."


Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The Japanese have wild ambition of expansion and may want to do another WW2 and Pearl Harbour.

Unknown said...

""The Americans only themselves as trouble making cowboys. They will bully any country that cannot stand up to them militarily. Shame on you Americans.""

No, that what China has been doing in recent times in the South China Sea, with Tibet and Taiwan, and now with its self-declared AIDZ.

And no, Taiwan and Tibet have traditionally been part of Chinese EMPIRE. Not China.

There is huge difference.

Unknown said...


""The Japanese have wild ambition of expansion and may want to do another WW2 and Pearl Harbour.""

You have to keep up with the times.

Modern Japan is not allowed to commit military troops outside of Japan as stipulated by the US-created gov't constitution made during the occupation after WWII. Nor do they have the military power to do so as they did in WWII.

Anonymous said...

@December 06, 2013 10:42 am

please look for a toilet bowl to freshen up

knnccb ....

Anonymous said...

as good as saying okinawa was part japan empire not japan