China's unilateral ADIZ escalating tensions, Tokyo defense report to say


China’s demarcation of an air defense identification zone over the East China Sea is escalating the situation and could trigger an unwanted clash, a draft overview of Japan’s upcoming white paper on defense showed Wednesday, taking aim at Beijing for its “unilateral” attempts to change the status quo.

The white paper, which is expected to be approved by the Cabinet in early August, will also state China has “unjustifiably infringed on the principle of freedom of flight in airspace above high seas,” as foreign aircraft entering the ADIZ are forced to follow Beijing’s rules and identify themselves, according to the outline.

In May and June, Self-Defense Forces aircraft and Chinese fighter jets flew unusually close where the two countries’ ADIZs overlap, raising fears of a military clash.

China’s ADIZ set up abruptly last November covers the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by Beijing, which calls them Diaoyu.

The white paper is likely to say that North Korea considers its nuclear arms development as a vital deterrent to the United States, as its leader Kim Jong Un tries to solidify his grip on power.

“It is possible that North Korea will step up its military provocations should it overestimate that strategic deterrence to the United States has been obtained,” the draft outline says.

On the recent annexation of Crimea by Russia, the government will say “attempts to change the status quo by force pose global challenges in that they have repercussions for Asia and other regions.”

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is trying to bolster defense capabilities as part of his reworking of Japan’s security framework. The overview also touches on his Cabinet’s recent reinterpretation of the Constitution to enable the exercise of the right to collective self-defense, or defending allies under armed attack.

Given Tokyo is considering introducing the U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey, the paper will highlight the usefulness and mobility of the tilt-rotor aircraft in disaster relief.

Currently, 24 Ospreys are deployed to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa. Some of them were dispatched to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan last November.