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China's Air Defense Identification Zone: Concept, Issues at Stake and Regional Impact

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Working paper

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News in the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region have been dominated in the past couple of weeks by Beijings 23 November announcement of an Air Defense Identification Zone ADIZ in the East-China Sea.1 Four aspects are particularly relevant. First, it covers Japans Senkaku Islands,2 which China claims under the name Diaoyu. Second, it includes the waters between Japan and Taiwan. Third, it requires aircraft flying through it to provide information, regardless of whether they are China-bound. Fourth, it has been accompanied by renewed speculation about a similar move in the South China Sea. The official announcement required all Aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone to provide flight plans maintain the two-way radio communications, and respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries , maintain transponder identification and clearly mark their nationalities and the logo of their registration identification , following Chinese instructions. The text also warned that Chinas armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions. and stated that the ADIZ would come into force that same day.3 Commenting on Beijings move two days later, Andrew S. Erickson US Naval War College explained that the Chinese Air Force soon conducted its first patrol in the zone, with two large reconnaissance aircraft monitoring the area, early warning aircraft supporting and fighters providing cover , adding that despite boilerplate disclaimers to the contrary, Beijings action appears targeted precisely at stoking tension between China and Japan, and putting pressure on the U.S.-Japan alliance .

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  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Government and Political Science

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