The United States and Japan will lobby against China’s recently established air defense identification zone during a U.N. civil aviation conference currently being held in Montreal, Japanese government sources said Wednesday.
The two countries plan to express their disapproval of the ADIZ during the late stage of the International Civilian Aviation Organization’s council meetings around mid-March to discuss civil aviation safety measures, the sources said.
They hope the move will block China’s attempt to make its ADIZ, which covers a large area of the East China Sea, an established fact. The zone includes part of the airspace over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China claims and calls Diaoyu.
Tokyo and Washington will assess support for their position among ICAO council members, but officials are not certain at this point that discussion of the ADIZ will appear in the meeting’s official agenda.
To avoid accusations of fomenting conflict, the countries will not refer to China by name in their appeals.
In negotiations preceding the decision to raise the issue, Washington and Tokyo agreed to express their view that China’s demand for the flight plans of civilian aircraft to be declared prior to entering the ADIZ violates the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. They will also emphasize the importance of protecting freedom of navigation in international waters and airspace, the sources said.
The United States and Japan hope to “encircle” China with the cooperation of Britain, Australia and the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, they said.
If the United States and Japan can broaden agreement on the issue among council members, it will place significant pressure on China to rescind the zone, one of the sources said.
However, some countries on the ICAO council believe that the gathering of civilian aviation specialists is not an appropriate venue for raising political issues, Japanese diplomatic sources said.
Japan also raised the issue of China’s ADIZ at an ICAO council meeting last November.