Home World Asia News Disputed islands: Japan describes China’s air defense identification zone as dangerous

Disputed islands: Japan describes China’s air defense identification zone as dangerous

Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe has described China’s move to create a new “air defense identification zone” over disputed waters as “dangerous”.

China’s action had “no validity whatsoever on Japan”, Shinzo Abe added.

China has voiced anger at Japanese and US objections to the new air zone, and lodged complaints with their embassies.

The zone covers disputed islands that are claimed and controlled by Japan. China says aircraft entering the zone must obey its rules.

Shinzo Abe told parliament on Monday that the zone “can invite an unexpected occurrence and it is a very dangerous thing as well”.

“We demand China revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace,” he added.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called the move a “destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region”.

“This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations,” Chuck Hagel said in a statement.

“This announcement by the People’s Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region,” he added.

Japan described China’s move as an “escalation” on Saturday, after China announced the new zone.

On Sunday, Yang Yujun, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, said Japan’s reaction was “absolutely groundless and unacceptable”.

The disputed islands in the East China Sea have been a source of tension between China and Japan for decades

The disputed islands in the East China Sea have been a source of tension between China and Japan for decades

“We strongly require the Japanese side to stop all moves that undermine China’s territorial sovereignty as well as irresponsible remarks that misguide international opinions and create regional tensions,” Yang Yujun said.

He also demanded that the US “earnestly respect China’s national security [and] stop making irresponsible remarks for China’s setup of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone”.

Meanwhile, South Korea said it found it “regretful” that China’s new zone partly overlapped with its own military air zone, and covered Ieodo, a submerged rock claimed by Seoul.

“I’d like to say once again that we have unchanging territorial control over Ieodo,” Kim Min-seok, a South Korean defense ministry spokesman, said on Monday.


Taiwan also claims the Japan-controlled disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Taiwan said that it would “defend its sovereignty over the archipelago.”

China said the air defense zone came into effect from 10:00 local time on Saturday.

Aircraft in the zone must report a flight plan, “maintain two-way radio communications” and “respond in a timely and accurate manner” to identification inquiries, China’s Defense Ministry said.

Aircraft that did not follow such rules would be subject to “defensive emergency measures”, the ministry added.

The disputed islands in the East China Sea have been a source of tension between China and Japan for decades.

In 2012, the Japanese government bought three of the islands from their private Japanese owner, sparking mass protests in Chinese cities.

Since then, Chinese ships have repeatedly sailed in and out of what Japan says are its territorial waters.

China said that any attempt by Japan to shoot down Chinese aircraft would constitute “an act of war”.

China is also engaged in territorial disputes with several South East Asian countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines. The disputes centre around ocean areas and two island chains in the South China Sea.

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