Not long after the US sent two long-range B-52 bombers through the middle of China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), despite China’s warnings to ‘adopt emergency defensive measures in response’ to noncommercial aircraft entering the zone without flight plans, both Japan and South Korea have announced that they too are flying planes through the disputed zones easy-breezy.
Washington Post reports:
A Japanese government spokesman said Thursday that its Lockheed Martin-made turboprop patrol planes have been conducting routine flights in China’s air defense identification zone since Beijing’s declaration. The spokesman did not say specifically when the flights have taken place or how many there have been. Japan has not been notifying China of its activities.
Japan’s Defense Ministry did not confirm the flights, but one official, requesting anonymity to describe the situation, said that Japan is “conducting the same monitoring activity as before, and we will not change or restrict such activities.”
South Korea’s flight took place Wednesday near the area of a South Korean maritime research center, built atop a submerged rock that both Seoul and Beijing contest.
According to reports, this flight also indicates a “clear sign that Seoul will not recognize the new airspace claim”.
As tensions continue to escalate between Japan and China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy on Wednesday criticized China for further provoking the issue with the newly-established zone.
“Unilateral actions like those taken by China with their announcement of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone undermine security and constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” Kennedy was quoted as saying in an ABC news report. “This only serves to increase tension in the region.”
China’s defense ministry on Thursday responded to Japan’s objections, saying that if Japan revoked its own ADIZ, it also might consider doing it in 44 years, according to SCMP:
“Japan has absolutely no right to make irresponsible comments regarding China setting up the East China Sea ADIZ,” ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told media in a routine press conference, according to China’s Ministry of National Defence website.
“We would like to ask Japan to revoke its own ADIZ first, China will then consider this request in 44 years,” Yang Yujun reportedly said when asked to comment on requests from Japan and the US to revoke the zone. Japan established its ADIZ 44 years ago in 1969.
[Image Credit: onkel_wart//Xinhua]