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No change in China air zone airline policy

by Reiji Yoshida

Staff Writer

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera indicated Sunday that Tokyo won’t change its stance on urging Japanese airlines not to submit their flight plans as requested by China for its new air defense identification zone over the East China Sea, labeling the demand a “one-sided action” by Beijing that deviates from international rules.

U.S. media have reported that Washington, in an apparent partial about-face, has urged U.S. airlines to submit their flight plans to avoid any unintended confrontation, while stressing that the U.S. has not accepted the ADIZ and that it will not avoid sending military aircraft into the area.

Interest has been keen on whether Japan will follow Washington’s lead.

“After all, (Japanese carriers) including commercial airlines are usually not obliged to report such things to respond to what China is (demanding) one-sidedly. We will handle this issue with a resolute attitude,” Onodera said in a recorded interview with NHK that was aired Sunday morning.

He also said he is concerned Beijing may be trying to set up a similar zone over the South China Sea. That would greatly raise tensions between China and the countries in that area, he said.

“The international community should not allow (a country) to take such a unilateral approach,” he said.

Tokyo is trying to garner support from other countries for its stance. On Saturday, officials proposed to the International Civil Aviation Organization that its member countries discuss how to react to China’s establishment of the zone.

The U.S. may be sending a mixed message to China.

While making clear it will not make any compromises in maintaining its military operations in the ADIZ, set up over the high seas, Washington also said it “generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally will operate consistently with” requirements “issued by foreign countries.”

According to CNN, U.S. airlines United, American and Delta confirmed Saturday that they have notified Chinese authorities of flight plans in the zone.

During Sunday’s interview, Onodera said Japan still believes Washington has maintained the same stance as Tokyo, saying that the U.S. government told Japan through diplomatic channels that it has not “requested” U.S. commercial airlines to follow the Chinese demand.

“We believe the U.S. has maintained the same stance as Japan,” he said.

Japan, the U.S. and many other countries have ADIZs, but they only “request” that foreign aircraft notify them of flight plans when they fly toward the territorial airspace.

China has said all aircraft flying through its zone must comply with the aviation rules set by Beijing and that it might take “defensive measures” if they do not comply.

  • The Truth

    1) US and Japan ADIZ: Status quo, China ADIZ: provocative
    2) US and Japan flying B 52 bombers and spy plane along the Chinese coast: Status quo, If China doing the same: Threat and unacceptable
    3) US embargo on Cuba since 1960 and Iran, war in Iraq etc: fine, China ADIZ: bullying

    All good examples of double standards.

    • Cheng

      Don’t you get it? The new China’s ADIZ is covering the international water and overlapping some South Korea’s, Japan’s, and Taiwan’s ADIZ. No wonder why Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and USA don’t honor the unilateral claimed by China. China should revise it or adjust it if they really want to extend their ADIZ. China is simply acting immature, making trouble and arrogant.

      FYI. the B-52 bombers flew in international water(which China’s claiming ADIZ) not actually in China’s coast. Well, just research what your country’s (China) doing to your neighbors Vietnam, India, Tibet, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia or Google search the “nine-dash-line” map claimed by china for example. Then judge it by yourself if China has full of greed or just have reasonable claim.

      • The Truth

        You are the one not getting it. ADIZ is supposed to extend into international water so as to provide early warning. And if it overlaps with other countries what is the issue? It is over international water. US and Japan created their own ADIZ years ago. Did they ever consult China? By your logic they are also immature, making trouble and arrogant.

        Flying long range bombers is a threat even it they are over international water. When Chinese H6 bombers flew near Okinawa it was reported as a headline and considered provocative. So when US sent their B52s to the Chinese coast it was fine by your logic? Say if there is an unidentified gunman outside your house on the street acting suspiciously and taking pictures of your house, I will call the police even if he is not inside my house because it is a threat.

      • Cheng

        Unilateral moved by China to cover the long have been known international water? Do you think that’s responsible? They even intentionally overlapped their ADIZ to other ADIZ of S. Korea, Japan and Taiwan. It’s very clear whats China’s real intention,c’mmon dude… that kind of behavior is very related to what China’s doing to some territories of India, Tibet and to Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei in South China sea.

        S. Korea, Japan and even Taiwan demanded China to revise it to avoid the overlapping issue. You asking about what is the issue? The issue is that its very dangerous, prone to accident to the commercial airlines, safety of passenger, and military conflict. Flying over international water is not a violation. Therefore the B-52 didn’t violate anything. FYI, China’s even conducted military exercise in the pacific (international water) and south China sea, and even inside the territory of Malaysia (80 miles from Malaysia and 1,900 miles from China).

        Say if, you and your neighbor across the street has been in that place for more than 40 years. The road between your houses is the international water. Then suddenly, your neighbor declared unilaterally that the road and some part of your yards belongs to him or his ADIZ. Therefore, every time you or your dog come out from your house to walk or to drive a car on the road, you need to report to him otherwise they might shoot you. Do you think that is correct? That’s China’s doing right now.

  • The Truth

    China on Wednesday said 55 airlines from 19 countries have accepted its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China. So why not JAL and ANA? The Japanese government should NOT put innocent passengers at risk just because of politics.