The Hot Zone
China's newly announced air defense identification zone over the East China Sea aims to shore up national security
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Monitoring East China Sea Airspace
Cover Stories Series 2013> Monitoring East China Sea Airspace
UPDATED: December 2, 2013 NO. 49 DECEMBER 5, 2013
Protecting Ocean Rights

On November 23, the Chinese Government issued a statement on the establishment of East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, together with aircraft identification rules and a map. China's Air Force has since conducted its first patrol of the area.

This is a legitimate action to protect China's ocean rights and monitor flights over East China Sea, while conforming to international laws and practices. However, China's move has triggered unnecessary reactions from some countries.

The establishment of such a zone is an important step to increase China's military transparency. Not only will such practice help enhance China's air defense capability, but also reduce misunderstandings.

The zone will further help ensure the safety of civilian aircraft, through timely and effective air control, while providing information related to weather, communications and navigation.

Due to differing regional airspace requirements, it is important to increase communication in overlapping areas to jointly safeguard varied interests.

A large part of the East China Sea air defense identification zone overlaps with Japan's Okinawa air defense zone, covering the Diaoyu Islands. China sticks to its stance that these islands have since ancient times been part of Chinese territory and that it is natural for it to protect the area surrounding them.

Japan has long tracked and monitored Chinese military planes conducting exercises and patrols above the East China Sea. In future, China and Japan are expected to inform each other of activities in the area and work out rules on the basis of negotiation to jointly manage and control overlapping zones and avoid conflict. Japan, as well as other countries, should stop infringing on China's territorial integrity to safeguard peace in East Asian Region.

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