China is setting up its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and extending it into some of the disputed parts of the East China Sea.
Not only the neighbouring countries, Japan and South Korea, but the United States are concerned and cautious as it appears to be a calculated Chinese exercise to consolidate its increasing sphere of influence over the zone.
The area includes international air space east of China’s airspace into the East China Sea and up to 130 km. from Japan’s territorial airspace. China’s ADIZ has stirred attention as it overlaps with the zones set up by Japan and South Korea. This was opposed by Japan, South Korea and also by the US as all these countries have carried out their respective flights through this region since China’s announcement last Saturday to set up its ADIZ in this zone as an expression of their defiance to China’s plans to bolster its control over the contested region. The trios response has led to a tense situation in the region as Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and other littoral countries have already contested the rising Chinese presence in this disputed area over the past few months. China has also scrambled its fighter jets to identify and tail 12 American and Japanese aircrafts that entered its newly established ADIZ, raising regional tensions.
The ADIZ is a predefined area over international air space within which the Chinese military will monitor and track aircrafts. China has also required aircraft to notify authorities if their flight plans pass through any portion of the ADIZ, though many other countries only required aircraft to do so if they are heading towards their territorial airspace. Many countries like the US, Japan and India monitor similar zones beyond their immediate territorial airspaces to track aircraft for security purposes. However there are no provisions in international laws governing the setting up of an ADIZ.