China preparing a new Air Defense Identification Zone in South China Sea?

26/10/2014


China’s success in establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea has sparked speculation about the possibility of a Chinese ADIZ in the South China Sea.
The People's Republic of China announced the establishment of what it called its East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone on 23 November 2013 defining an ADIZ as a zone that allowed a coastal state to "identify, monitor, control and react to aircraft entering this zone with potential air threats." Despite several international protests, China's move received broad domestic support.
So, what is an Air Defense Identification Zone?
An Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is airspace over land or water in which the identification, location, and control of civil aircraft is required in the interest of national security. They extend beyond a country's airspace to give the country more time to respond to foreign and possibly hostile aircraft. The authority to establish an ADIZ is not given by any international treaty nor prohibited by international law and is not regulated by any international body.
It is critical to note that an ADIZ is not a territorial claim. National airspace only extends out twelve nautical miles over open water, the same as a country’s territorial waters. Air-defence identification zones are intended to provide a country with early notification, location, and control of foreign civilian aircraft entering national airspace.
Moreover, most ADIZs are unilaterally declared. They have no basis in international law, but are usually adhered to by other nations.
The East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (abbreviated ADIZ) is an Air Defense Identification Zone covering most of the East China Sea where the People's Republic of China announced that it was introducing new air traffic restrictions in November 2013. The area consists of the airspace from about, and including, the Japanese controlled Senkaku Islands (which are known as the Diaoyu Islands in mainland China and are claimed by mainland China as well as Taiwan) north to South Korean-claimed Socotra Rock (known as Suyan Jiao in China). About half of the area overlaps with a Japanese ADIZ, while also overlapping to a small extent with the South Korean and Taiwanese ADIZ.
According to the Chinese Ministry of National Defense, foreign aircraft in the zone will be expected to abide by the following:
·                     Identification of flight plan. Any aircraft in the zone must report its flight plan to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Civil Aviation Administration.
·                     Radio identification. Aircraft in the zone must maintain two-way radio communication and respond in a timely and accurate manner to inquiries
·                     Responder identification. Any aircraft with an Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System transponder must keep it on during the aircraft's time in the zone
·                     Sign identification. Any aircraft in the zone must display insignia indicating its nationality and registration clearly, in accordance with international treaties
·                     Aircraft in the zone should follow instructions. The Chinese military will adopt "emergency defensive measures" in response to aircraft that refuse to follow the instructions.
When will China set up a new ADIZ in South China Sea?
Chinese government sources told The Asahi Shimbun that working-level air force officials have already worked out a draft plan for the prospective ADIZ, which they say, at the very least, will include the airspace over the Paracel Islands, which China calls Xisha and are under its control. The air zone could also go on to cover the entire South China Sea.
A senior researcher and officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army said that establishing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is essential to China’s national interest.
“The establishment of another ADIZ over the South China Sea is necessary for China’s long-term national interest,” Senior Colonel Li Jie, a researcher at the PLA Navy’s Military Academy and frequent media commentator, said on Friday, according to a report in Reuters.
Setting up an air defense zone near Hainan, which could require aircraft to file flight plans with Chinese authorities, would be a direct challenge to U.S. forces, which routinely conduct surveillance exercises in the area of the Yalong Bay Naval Base.
“The key question is in the timing and means by which this is announced by China,” said Andrew Scobell, a senior political scientist at RAND Corporation in Arlington, Virginia, referring to a potential partial South China Sea air zone. “Such an announcement would likely heighten alarm among Southeast Asian states and the U.S.”
China has already extended its naval patrols to cover most of the South China Sea, according to the Beijing News.
China's sovereignty claims are defined by what it calls the "nine-dotted line" map, the U-shaped demarcation line that outlines the territory it claims as its own, which is basically the bulk of the South China Sea.
Many Chinese government officials argue that the South China Sea ADIZ should extend as far as the nine-dotted line to ensure the consistency of Beijing's claims, sources said
The move to create the South China Sea ADIZ is driven by Beijing's urge to establish a greater military presence--both naval and air--in waters off its coastline and expand its maritime interests to counter the United States. China believes it is entitled to such rights as a major power, according to a diplomatic source in Beijing.
China is laying out plans to define another new air defense identification zone, but this time in the South China Sea, sources said, which could further escalate tensions in the region.
The disclosure is sure to provoke Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, all of whom claim sovereignty over parts or all of the disputed territory, which includes hundreds of islands, cays, shoals and reefs.
China appears to be taking a cautious stance toward establishing an air defense identification zone in the South China Sea, partly due to strong resistance by the United States and Southeast Asian nations.
Beijing is seeking to improve ties and gain cooperation with ASEAN nations as a means of setting the stage for an eventual effective control of the South China Sea. At the same time, Beijing also wants to use such moves to isolate Japan amid deepening confrontations over the Senkaku Islands and the China policy of the Abe administration.
Although China does not want to antagonize Southeast Asian nations, establishing an ADIZ in the South China Sea has been a long-held goal of the Chinese military because it feels it would be an effective countermeasure against U.S. forces.
Beijing will exercise caution in launching a South China Sea ADIZ. But it will be a matter of time. China’s air defense space won’t be just confined to the East China Sea.
For now, Beijing appears to be mulling when will be the best time to announce its new South China Sea ADIZ.
"So many different elements have to be taken into consideration, because the mechanism is so complicated," a National Defense Ministry representative told The Asahi Shimbun.
At present China lacks sufficient military capabilities to enforce such a zone, has yet to successfully persuade its neighbors of China’s benign intentions, and does not see regional nations as posing an imminent threat to Chinese interests. Therefore, Beijing is unlikely to establish an ADIZ for the time being. It is only a matter of time, however, before China attains the necessary military capabilities to maintain an ADIZ in the South China Sea. Once China has that military capacity, either of the other two factors above could trigger a new ADIZ. If China is both strong enough and can either successfully convince its neighbors in the South China Sea of its benign intentions, or if Beijing feels sufficiently threatened by those same neighbors, China will then be highly likely to set up an ADIZ in the area./.
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All comments [ 10 ]


Lê Tín 26/10/14 10:16

The establishment of another ADIZ over the South China Sea is necessary for China’s long-term national interest. So, I think they will set up a new one in South China Sea.

Quốc Cường 26/10/14 10:19

Such move could escalate tensions in the region and China will have to consider pros and cons of that decision.

Huy Lâm 26/10/14 10:20

Beijing also wants to hold on to the establishment of the zone as a diplomatic card to seek greater cooperation with various nations to isolate Japan.

Quốc Kiên 26/10/14 10:22

At that time, China has also completed relevant work and will establish an ADIZ over the South China Sea at the appropriate time.

Phạm Hiếu 26/10/14 10:25

Yes, as I see they are restoring and building more and more civil and military infrastructures in islands that they control in the South China Sea.

Hùng Quân 26/10/14 10:27

Maybe we should establish a ADIZ in our sea before them.

Vân Nhàn 26/10/14 10:28

Although China does not want to antagonize Southeast Asian nations, establishing an ADIZ in the South China Sea has been a long-held goal of the Chinese military because it feels it would be an effective countermeasure against U.S. forces.

Hoàng Lân 26/10/14 10:30

China’s efforts to protect its submarine gateway to the South China Sea could broaden from standoffs with U.S. military planes to announcing an air defense identification zone.

Huy Quốc 26/10/14 10:32

Vietnam's government should prepare to protect our national interests because it's just the matter of time that China will establish a ADIZ in the South China Sea.

Quân Hoàng 26/10/14 10:34

It is not clear whether Beijing has learned the lessons of its earlier announcement of the East China Sea ADIZ, they will be isolated if doing that.

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