Commentary: China's setup of air zone legitimate, conducive to regional peace
                 English.news.cn | 2013-11-24 16:49:45 | Editor: An

Background: Air Defense Identification Zones

Special: China establishes its first air defense ID zone

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East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (Source: xinhuanet.com)

BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government on Saturday issued a statement on establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.

The move, however, provoked anger in Japan, which accused China of "one-sidedly" setting up the zone that covers the disputed Diaoyu islands, and described the zone as "totally unacceptable."

Having no intention to generate tensions, China's move is to uphold its own legitimate rights and safeguard what has always been its own.

As pointed out by many military experts, the establishment of the air zone is a necessary, rightful and totally legitimate measure taken by China in protecting its sovereignty and providing air security.

Actually, the establishment of the air zone is not only perfectly legitimate, but also in line with current international practice.

An air defense identification zone is established by a maritime nation to guard against potential air threats. Since the 1950s, more than 20 countries, including the United States, Australia, Germany and Japan itself, have successively established such zones.

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun has stressed that the zone "has no particular target and will not affect the freedom of flight in relevant airspace."

Since the zone is both in line with the UN Charter and in respect of relevant international laws and customs, China has every right to decide on its own whether to set up such zones, without getting permission from any other countries.

And Japan should know better than to continue its overreaction and learn to accept the "unacceptable."

On Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced concerns over the zone, fearing it might "constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea," and increase tensions and risks in the region.

But is it China to blame for upsetting the status quo over the islands?

The status quo of the Diaoyu islands, which had lasted for decades under the principle of shelving the dispute, has already been broken more than one year ago when the Japanese government launched a unilateral move to "purchase" and "nationalize" the islands.

The farce of "buying" the Chinese territories is a sign of Japan's expanding nationalism and growing belligerence, which should be identified as the real danger in the region.

Instead of "increasing tensions and creating risks," the setup of China's air zone could contribute much to regional peace and security by curbing the increasing rampancy of Japan's right-wing forces, as well as the continuous and dangerous provocations of Japanese politicians, which even Washington should be vigilant against.

The White House has repeatedly said that the United States does not take a position on territorial disputes between China and Japan, a neutral stance the Chinese government has appreciated.

But keeping a blind eye to the dangerous tendency in Japan could prove to be risky and might even jeopardize the U.S. national interests.

East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (Source: Ministry of National Defense/China Daily)

Background: Air Defense Identification Zones

BEIJING, Nov. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- The airforce says it has conducted its first air patrol since the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone was announced. Reconnaissance and early-warning aircraft and warplanes were deployed. But what is an Air Defense Identification Zone, and how does it work?

Air Defence Identification Zone is a zone that can extend in some cases up to 300 miles beyond the territorial sea. It’s established by some countries off their coasts for security reasons. When entering the zone, all aircraft are required to identify themselves, report flight plans, and inform ground control of their exact position.

Military expert Yin Zhuo said, "Since the 1950s, some countries have demarcated Air Defense Identification Zones on high seas or international waters. It’s also called identification belt." Full story

Statement by the Government of the People's Republic of China on Establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Ministry of National Defense of the People's Republic of China issued a statement on establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.

Following is the full text:

Statement by the Government of the People's Republic of China on Establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

Issued by the Ministry of National Defense on November 23

The government of the People's Republic of China announces the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone in accordance with the Law of the People's Republic of China on National Defense (March 14, 1997), the Law of the People's Republic of China on Civil Aviation (October 30, 1995) and the Basic Rules on Flight of the People's Republic of China (July 27, 2001). The zone includes the airspace within the area enclosed by China's outer limit of the territorial sea and the following six points: 33º11'N (North Latitude) and 121º47'E (East Longitude), 33º11'N and 125º00'E, 31º00'N and 128º20'E, 25º38'N and 125º00'E, 24º45'N and 123º00'E, 26º44'N and 120º58'E.Full story

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