CNN's Rene Marsh explains what air defense zones are and why the U.S. doesn't recognize China's newly created one.
The U.S. military is conducting daily flights through China’s newly declared air-defense zone without notifying Beijing authorities in advance, a U.S. defense official said today. The disclosure indicates that U.S. flight activity in the area, where China has unilaterally sought to exert control, is more extensive than was previously known. The Pentagon had acknowledged a flight by two unarmed B-52 bombers through the air zone earlier this week.
Fighter jets on the USS George Washington aircraft carrier on Oct. 24, 2013, in the South China Sea.
The defense official, who asked not to be named discussing military operations, wouldn’t specify the type of aircraft used in subsequent flights nor say whether any of them are armed. “It’s very important the U.S. signal to the Chinese that we’re not going to be bullied and that we’re going to adhere to our commitments,” which include a defense treaty with Japan, said Nicholas Burns, a former U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2005 to 2008.
A Jian-10 fighter jet of China Air Force flying at Yangcun Air Force base on the outskirts of Tianjin municipality. Photo: Reuters
China for a second day today sent fighter planes into the air zone over an area that includes islands claimed by both China and Japan. China’s “provocative” behavior toward its neighbors in the region “now becomes a very prominent issue for the visit,” said Burns, who is now a professor of international relations at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Biden is “well-positioned to play a calming role hopefully to defuse this crisis, in a way that is supportive of our primary friend, the government of Japan,” Burns said in an interview.
South Korea has instructed the country's airlines not to submit flight plans to China amid ongoing controversy over China's newly declared air defense zone over the East China Sea, government officials said Sunday.
An official at the transportation ministry said that the Seoul government has instructed air carriers not to comply with China's rules that require submission of flight plans for aircraft entering the new air defense zone, which South Korea does not recognize.
The instructions came as regional tension has risen sharply following China's unilateral declaration last week of its new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, which also largely overlaps that of Japan and also encroaches upon South Korea's. Korean Air Lines, Korea's largest carrier, and its local rival Asiana Airlines said that they will follow the Seoul government's stance.
US aircraft may follow several regional carriers complying with China's new rules
Three major U.S. airlines on Saturday confirmed that pilots were complying with Chinese government demands that it be notified of plans to traverse the newly declared air defense zone over the East China Sea. The demands from Beijing have resulted in tensions with Japan and the United States.
On Saturday, United, American and Delta airlines told CNN that its pilots were following Washington's advice and complying with Beijing's "air defense identification zone." A senior official in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said Friday that commercial airlines are being told to abide by Beijing's instruction, even if the U.S. government doesn't recognize it. "We ... are advising for safety reasons that they comply with notices to airmen, which FAA always advises," the official said.
The U.S. Navy's first advanced P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft has arrived in Japan, the start of a deployment that will upgrade America's ability to hunt submarines and other vessels in seas close to China as tension in the region mounts. The deployment, planned before China last month established an air defense zone covering islands controlled by Japan and claimed by Beijing, includes six aircraft to be delivered to Kadena air base on Okinawa this month. The first arrived on Sunday, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy told Reuters. The mission in the waters west of Japan's main islands will be the new aircraft's first anywhere.
The jet, built by Boeing Co based on its 737 passenger plane, has been built to replace the aging propeller-powered Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion patrol aircraft, which has been in service for 50 years. Packed with the latest radar equipment and armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, the P-8 is able to fly further and stay out on mission longer than the P-3.
The P-8A MMA design is based on the fuselage of the 737-800 and wings of the 737-900.
Vice-president Joe Biden arrived in Japan on Monday amid a rift with America's closest Pacific ally after China announced an expanded air defense zone.
While the US and Japan have made a public show of unity following China’s demand last week that all aircraft passing over a disputed island chain identify themselves to Beijing, American and Japanese aviation authorities are adopting divergent positions over whether civilian flights should comply with the Chinese demand.
Joe Biden arrives in Tokyo. US officials had hoped Biden would be able to concentrate on economic affairs.
Biden, who arrived in Tokyo late Monday night local time, now has the task of reassuring Japanese and South Korean allies over their fraught confrontation with China about its expansive so-called “air defense identification zone.” The issue is likely to overshadow a week-long trip to the three Asian countries that US officials had hoped would focus on economic affairs.
“I believe this latest incident underscores the need for agreement between China and Japan to establish crisis management and confidence-building measures to lower tensions,” Biden said in an interview with Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper on the eve of his arrival.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo December 3, 2013.
The US vice-president’s trip enables him to have face-to-face contact with all the regional players with a stake in the controversy, including South Korea, where he will spend two days meeting senior government officials. South Korea, which has strained relations with Japan, is also being sucked into the dispute. Local reports indicate that Seoul is in the final stages of expanding its own six-decade-old air defense identification zone southward, which would overlap with territory claimed by China. The move comes after a defense consultation last week between China and South Korea failed to reassure Seoul that China’s expanded zone was aimed exclusively at Japan.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul in an effort to defuse tensions over territorial disputes and China's air defense zone. But how far is he likely to get?
Vice President Joe Biden opened a two-day visit to China Wednesday by urging young Chinese students to challenge their government, teachers and religious leaders. Arriving midday in Beijing, Biden paid a visit to the U.S. Embassy, where he surprised Chinese citizens waiting to get visitor visas processed in the embassy's consular section. Thanking a group of mostly young people for wanting to visit the U.S., Biden said he hoped they would learn during their visit that "innovation can only occur where you can breathe free." "Children in America are rewarded — not punished — for challenging the status quo," Biden said. "The only way you make something totally new is to break the mold of what was old."
Vice President Joe Biden (3-L) and US ambassador to China Gary Locke (2-L) meet Chinese visa applicants at the U.S. Embassy consular section in Beijing.
The vice president seemed to be alluding to the authoritarian rule of China's government as he described a liberal and permissive intellectual culture in the United States. "I hope you observe it when you're there," said Biden, flanked by U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke. "From the beginning of our country, it's a constant stream of new immigrants, new cultures, new ideas, new religions, brand new people continuing to reinvigorate the spirit of America."
Biden's visit comes at a tense moment for the U.S. and China, who are at odds over Beijing's recent insistence that pilots flying through airspace over a set of disputed islands file flight plans with China's government. On Tuesday in Tokyo, Biden said the U.S. was deeply concerned by the action and said it increased the prospects for an accident, pledging to raise the issue directly when he meets Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jingping.