The Japanese government is working closely with the United States with regards to China’s establishment of the “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone,” and warned Beijing that such a move may cause “unintended consequences” in the region.
In a statement, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said it is currently consulting with the United States, which has military bases in Tokyo, with regards to China’s latest move of asserting greater control over the East China Sea.
It is also coordinating with other “relevant countries and partners” that have common interests in ensuring the stability and the safety of the region.
“Japan will, in partnership with the international community, strongly urge China to exercise self-restraint,” the ministry said.
The measures announced by the Chinese Ministry of National Defense obliged aircraft flying in international airspace to abide by its domestic procedures. Those who will not follow the instructed procedudes will be referred to the recourse to “defensive emergency measures” by the Chinese Armed Forces.
The ministry said its government is deeply concerned about China’s establishment of the zone, which overlaps on Tokyo’s own air defense zone, is a “profoundly dangerous [act]that unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea, escalating the situation, and that may cause unintended consequences in the [region].”
The United States defied Beijing’s air defense zone on Wednesday by flying two B-52 bombers through the area, although Washington was clear that it’s intentions are not to exhibit its military strength against the regional superpower.
The exercise was described as a training mission, although analysts said US was clear in its message that it will not recognize the new territorial claims Beijing imposed over the weekend.
China did not respond to what Chinese netizens referred to as provocation and defiance from Washington.
The Japanese ministry insisted it will not recognize China’s air defense zone, and that such measures “have no validity whatsoever in Japan.”
“Japan demands China to revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace,” the statement added.
An “international airspace” is enshrined in the general principle of international law, so China’s recent actions “will have serious impacts on ther order of international aviation.”
Japan has already protested China’s actions and expressed its concerns to Beijing. It also demanded China to revoke such measures.
“Japan will continue to respond firmly but in a calm manner against China’s attempt to unilaterally alter the status quo by coercive measures with determination to defend resolutely its territorial land, sea and airspace,” the ministry said.
Beijing was incensed by Tokyo’s move to nationalize the chain of islands in the East China Sea in September 2012. The islands are called Senkakus by the Japanese and Diaoyus by the Chinese.
Chinese and Japanese coast guards have regularly confronted each other in the surrounding waters, with China being angered by Japan’s threat to shoot down Chinese surveillance vessels in the disputed waters.
The Senkaku Islands stretch out to a total of seven square kilometers, and is located northeast of Taiwan, east of mainland China and southwest of Okinawa.
The uninhabited chain of islands is close to major shipping lanes, offers rich fishing grounds and believed to contain oil deposits.
China’s claim is founded on ancient times while Japan incorporated the islands into its Nansei and Shoto islands back in 1985.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON