China's New Air Defence Zone: Seven Crucial Factors

BMI View: China's establishment of an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) overlapping the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands will increase geopolitical risks in Asia, and potentially undermine Beijing's standing in the region, as it fuels a backlash. More Asian countries will turn to the US to counterbalance China's influence.

China's establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on November 23, 2013, has significantly raised geopolitical tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, and risks creating a major backlash against Beijing. China's new ADIZ appears to be directed against Japan, since the zone covers the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China (which calls them the Diaoyu Islands) and by Taiwan. By establishing the ADIZ, China appears to be challenging Japanese sovereignty over the islands, as the zone requires all aircraft entering it to identify themselves and report their flight plans to the Chinese authorities. The Japanese government has ordered its airlines not to comply with the ADIZ, after their initial cooperation. The secondary 'target' of the ADIZ would appear to be the US, which is the top ally of Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. China deeply resents the substantial American military presence in Asia and Washington's stated commitment to 'pivot' towards the Pacific, regarding these (correctly in our view) as a means to counterbalance Beijing's rising influence. Therefore, the Chinese ADIZ may be aimed at testing the US's reaction to changes to the military status quo. The US's immediate response was to fly B-52 bombers through the zone without notifying China, thus demonstrating that Chinese control of its ADIZ is hollow. On November 29, the US military revealed that it had been sending daily flights through the disputed area.

Implications Of China's New ADIZ

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