HONG KONG – Chinese President Xi Jinping decided to establish the country’s air defense identification zone over the East China Sea about four months ago, Hong Kong’s Yazhou Zhoukan weekly magazine has reported in its latest edition.
The East China Sea ADIZ was proposed by the People’s Liberation Army a long time ago, but the Communist Party leaders had not studied the proposal until Xi made the decision, the magazine said.
Regarding the decision, the magazine reported that Xi said Sino-Japanese relations in the East China Sea have changed to a strategic battle from a fight for resources.
A source close to the CPC’s Central Military Commission noted the zone extends near the Miyako Straits between Okinawa islands, a key waterway Chinese warships use to go to and from the Pacific, according to the magazine.
This means the focus of the two countries’ disputes has shifted from the median line between their coastlines to waters surrounding the Okinawa island of Miyako, the source was quoted as saying.
China on Nov. 23 announced the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ, including airspace over the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands, which are also claimed by China. This has drawn criticism from Japan, the United States and other countries.
A Chinese defense official has said the country plans to establish an ADIZ also over the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea. The move would be certain to anger South Korea and Southeast Asian nations.