The Diplomat's East China Sea ADIZ Analysis Round-Up
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The Diplomat's East China Sea ADIZ Analysis Round-Up


The biggest security news out of the Asia-Pacific this week is China’s decision to unilaterally impose an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over a large swathe of the East China Sea, prodding Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, and shooting the East China Sea to the top of the list of the Asia-Pacific’s hottest flashpoints. We’ve had plenty of coverage on the issue this week at The Diplomat, and here’s a round-up of that analysis (followed by a few defense and security links ahead of the weekend).

My colleague Zachary Keck took a look into the reasons why China decided to implement the ADIZ when it did and in the manner it did; he argues the ADIZ is consistent with China’s “lawfare” strategy towards maritime disputes (Zach also had some of the earliest coverage of the ADIZ and the U.S. B-52 flyby). Flashpoints author Harry Kazianis argued for Washington to step in and reassure allies against the backdrop of the ADIZ, not succumbing to Beijing’s “game of chicken.”

Second, a couple pieces covering the Taiwan angle: my colleague Shannon Tiezzi and Flashpoints contributor J. Michael Cole each offer their takes on the ADIZ’s implications for cross-strait relations.

wrote a piece exploring China’s somewhat odd decision to prod South Korea over the ADIZ, given its unwillingness to raise the ire of South Korea over territorial issues in recent years. China and South Korea held a long-scheduled high-level defense meeting. The ADIZ issue between the two countries was added to the agenda at the last minute over South Korean concerns that China had drawn the ADIZ’s frontiers a little too close to Jeju-do for comfort. Yonhap reports that China rejected South Korean demands to redraw the ADIZ — a bold move that is certain to thrust East China Sea territorial issues to the top of the bilateral agenda between those two countries. J. Berkshire Miller takes a look at the broader diplomatic picture between China and South Korea in a feature piece this week as well.

The Diplomat’s Justin McDonnell spoke to David M. Finkelstein of the Center for Naval Analyses about the ADIZ earlier this week. Read that interview here.

Since these pieces were written, China has scrambled jets after more U.S. and Japanese flyovers in its new ADIZ. Keep your eyes peeled for more on the ADIZ next week from The Diplomat.

Next week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be visiting the region.

Defense Links

Both Iran and Russia announced new submarine classes this week. Iran launched its new Fateh-class indigenously-built subUSNI, citing a report by Jane’s Defence Weekly, stated that one of the suspected Fateh-class subs was spotted around Bostanu Shipyard, near the Strait of Hormuz in late October. The 500-ton submarine is a somewhat surprising development considering Iran’s fiscal troubles generated by years of biting sanctions. Iran hasn’t shied away from using its submarines boldly beyond Hormuz, traveling into the deep Indian Ocean.

Russia’s new generation of underwater warfare hardware is a slightly more impressive story — its new Novorossiysk stealth submarine is touted to be “virtually undetectable when submerged.” RT cites the captain of the boat on the matter: “Our potential opponents call it the ‘Black Hole’ due to the very low noise emission and visibility of the submarine … To be undetectable is the main quality for a submarine. And this whole project really fits its purpose.” The Novrossiysk sub belongs to the Varshavyanka-class of advanced stealth submarines being built by Russia (also known as Project 636).

Aviation Week reports that the United States ranks as the top supplier of defense aircraft and aircraft technology for Asia-Pacific partners and allies, with about $79.2 billion inexpected sales between 2009 and 2023.

December 7, 2013 at 11:04

given the current situation and based on the track record of this WWII criminal, chinese military must be able to monitor a sufficiently-large buffer zone in order to make preemptive strikes against the “sneaky attacks”. the existence of such an adequate buffer zone would have minimized the casualties during the pearl harbor bombing. imagine if it was manhattan being bombed. Now, it’s a clear and present danger for Shanghai – the manhattan of china. therefore, this effort must demonstrate a zero-risk-tolerance procedure and strength against aircrafts coming directly from any unfriendly nation(s)…for this purpose, of course, the enforcement would be selective and it should only target unfriendly nations – china would be stupid to allow any aircrafts taking off from an unfriendly nation coming into this buffer zone unregistered or unidentified. This is a serious security and safety issue in dealing with a WWII criminal that has been on the quest to be re-militarized, has shown extreme hostility against china and has been trying to destroy Chinese reputation internationally by defaming.


regarding the fact that this ADIZ covers the disputed islands, in my view, it is totally justified given any flying-trespassing takes virtually no time for aircrafts and it isn’t worth the effort to carve “it” out – it defeats the purpose.

December 2, 2013 at 19:03

Interesting article from RTnews, check

December 5, 2013 at 14:56 has been one of my favorite websites for real information and global news coverage. It’s the antithesis of US/UK propaganda empire where false information, biased reporting, inflammatory editorials aim to brainwash the mindless sheep in their realm every day. Max Keiser is particularly fun to watch – informative and entertaining.

Little Helmsman
December 2, 2013 at 06:23

China does not have air refueling capability or early warning radar so enforcing its made up ADIZ is an impossibility ! China just shows how unsophisticated it is to the world. Ridiculous!

Dien Bien Phu
December 1, 2013 at 13:30

China and Russia Need To Rejoin Again.

December 2, 2013 at 16:49

Sure, so China can keep making replica from the Russian’s stuff, like the J-11, cheap rusty tanks, Type 79/69, etc. Oh, the PLA would love to copy the Su-35′s engine, too.

Mike China
December 1, 2013 at 10:05

The US and Japan have their own adiz so why can’t China? The problem is China was weak in the past and only lately has their military grown to only a fraction of US power but nevertheless carries more bite unlike Mao’s time or even ten years ago.
Whatever it is,China must not be naïve to accept US provocation to a war. It must continue its development and continue to develop comprehensive ,military power with more nw added to ensure at least a hundred or more to reach US assets. Even if the US were to destroy China with a thousand or more nw,they will think twice.
As said all good things must come to an end. The US maybe the strongest military but with a dysfunctional economy ,it will sink to its knees soon.

December 2, 2013 at 04:04

The Problem is the ADIZ is in a Japanese Territory since the United States gave the Senkaku to the Japanese after it left Japan. It is part of the Japanese sovereign territory and China for that matter gave it for perpetuity.

Dien Bien Phu
December 2, 2013 at 07:44

Are you telling the world you can rob someone land and give it to somebody, so that person can claim it belongs to him? Is that true? Say it aloud to the world!

December 3, 2013 at 07:37

@Dien Bien Phu: Are you a chinese imposter or a real Vietnamese? I hope you’re aware that china has been grabbing your land and sea. Are you sure you’re OK with that? I visited VN 2 years ago and the Vietnamese people I met weren’t keen on that.

December 8, 2013 at 14:56

US can not give anyone something they did not own.
Also, US had taken no position on who owns these islands.

read it up.

The United States Department of State has stated that it does not take an official position on who owns the islands.

December 1, 2013 at 07:53

“Aviation Week reports that the United States ranks as the top supplier of defense aircraft and aircraft technology for Asia-Pacific partners and allies, with about $79.2 billion inexpected sales between 2009 and 2023.”………………………………..And the US defense corps are smiling so broadly: come on guys, quarrel more because your quarrels are ‘golden’ words, literally :)

November 30, 2013 at 22:00

US and Japanese governments have told their passenger planes to obey Chinese ADIZ. This they say is for their own protection. This means their constructive acceptance of ADIZ after China scrambled fighter jets.

December 1, 2013 at 10:54

The recent news says that both Japan and the US government denied that they had ordered airline companies to comply with such a barbaric demand from CCP. Japan, the US and Taiwan should decrease the number of the inbound flights to Shanghai just in case.

Nguoi Phan Bien
November 30, 2013 at 19:27

The Diplomat is EXTREMELY one-sided when it comes to Sino-Asian and Sino-American affairs reporting/editorializing. It only publishes articles that are hostile to China. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, all one-sided publications only result in attracting a low quality readership who are hell bent on taking an EXTREMIST approach to their opinions. In the case of ADIZ, let’s provide readers access to a different kind of opinion; one that does not come from China such as:

December 1, 2013 at 07:58

Exactly, and the analysis was not critical at all for me…It’s really hard for a propaganda to analyse professionally in more depth…And the comments here too, were too much propaganda…..

Radio Free Asia
December 1, 2013 at 08:14

The Diplomat is our Japanese affiliate and its missions are to portray China in the bad light whenever possible using CIA devised mudslinging techniques, and along the way it helps Japanese ruling elite to accomplish their forebear’s dream of being the master of Asia, so that Japan can take the position of Kshatriyas in the new world caste system established by its Brahmins, the world sole superpower.

December 3, 2013 at 07:34

@Nguoi Phan Bien: unless you’re a chinese imposter, your name means that you’re Vietnamese. Who is your real enemy? the china that has been looking for any chance throughout history to swallow/enslave your country or US/Japan with a brief encounter with you? And I’m not even raising the point about chinese lawless acts here yet.

Counter Communist Force
December 5, 2013 at 18:29

and you don’t know that those on the other side of this topics are pro China.

November 30, 2013 at 17:13

US is just a big hypocrite. The discussion on China’s ADZ is just beyond the point. China has the right to set up the ADZ , just like those other countries with similar arrangements. Given the technology development, it is necessary to have a zone beyone one’s border to ensure enough response time in the event of real air attack. What is most revealing about the alarm by the US is its double standard when it comes to ADZ. After this ADZ incident, fewer people have any faith in the US role as a world cop.

November 30, 2013 at 17:05

US detect luanch in China, by Satellite. China also have Satellite.

November 30, 2013 at 13:24

If US, Japan, S Korea and other countries still want China to recognize their ADIZ, they have to reciprocate by recognizing China’s ADIZ.

November 30, 2013 at 15:01

Then, protest against CCP for not solving the Senkaku Issues before setting ADIZ at International Court of Justice at Hague. Anyone defending China’s action of setting ADIZ over the islands administrated by someone else are hypocrites. United Nation has a guidance not to act militarily in case of the territorial dispute, and aggressive China is not worthy to have a permanent seat there.

Let's be clear
December 1, 2013 at 08:43

1. It is the Japanese government refusing to recognize the Daioyu/Senkaku issue.
2. It is the Japanese government setting up ADIZ without the permission of ICJ and its neighboring nations first.
3. It is the USA violating Cairo and Potsdam declarations and betrayed its WWII allies for its imperial empire ambition by awarding Japan the administrative rights of lands that does not belong to the USA.
4. It is the USA instigating the disputes to destabilize Asia by encouraging the neo- fascist Japanese to take reckless aggressive actions in West-Pacific.
5. It is just disgusting the Japanese is so willing to be a cannon fodder to destroy Asia for someone who has no stake in the welfare of Asia.

December 1, 2013 at 13:59

@ let’s be clear
— 1) If China want to dispute, China should sue Japan at ICJ. Until then, the dispute doesn’t exist but only the China’s unlawful invasion. — 2) ICJ has no part in establishing ADIZ. — 3) Declaration is null once a treaty is agreed on both side. — 4) It is China who is unlawfully invading the Japanese territories. If you don’t like it, sue Japan at ICJ before sending armed ships and aircraft and try to solve it militarily. — 5) If China unlawfully takes the Senkaku Islands by force, China will go for Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, and elsewhere in SE Asia. Japan will do anything to stop fascist CCP.

November 30, 2013 at 12:37

Those countries that already have ADIZ and now protesting against China are hypocrites. If they now want China to respect their ADIZ, they better reciprocate by respecting China’s ADIZ.

November 30, 2013 at 12:35

>>China has scrambled jets after more U.S. and Japanese flyovers in its new ADIZ
The news yesterday was that both the Japanese government and Japan Air Defense Force disagreed with the Chinese announcement of the scrambles, stating that Japan has not been detected any abnormal activities in ADIZ, and most likely “China is lying”. That’s a strong statement for Japan to blame CCP of lying, but the world is finally starting to understand how much hoax and propaganda CCP is spreading. Simply, China setup the zone too large while it has no radar technology or the capability to detect the incoming aircrafts that far. The CCP spokesman must feel embarrassed to tell the world this make-up story after the US and Japan made announcements.

November 30, 2013 at 19:47

Your first sentence already acknowledged China’s ADIZ.

If the Japanese government thinks China was lying in scrambling jets, then ask its Japan Air Defense Force fly its fighter jets towards China to confirm that fact.

December 1, 2013 at 08:05

Both were not lying because it was normal for China to scramble jets, thus nothing abnormal…Frankly, China would not really ‘tail’ foreign aircrafts unless they come closer towards China mainland…..This is both prudent, wise and practical…..China would not ‘over-react’ with any foreign plane flying closer to Japan than China….

November 30, 2013 at 07:40

China must find a balancing lever elsewhere in the world – most notably in the middle east – to put pressure on USA to keep out else it will complicate matters elsewhere. Helping the Taliban is another tactic leading up to the September 2014 withdrawal-in-defeat.

December 1, 2013 at 08:18

Don’t think that’s exactly a good idea…Firstly, Taliban can’t really do much for China’s overall strategic goal…Unless there are ‘good’ elements within the Taliban whose influence China hopes to leverage on in Central Asia….but, not too much of a difference in dealing with the US….The big thing is working with Russia on Iran and Syria….North Korea also perhaps….But long term wise, China needs to project to Central and South America to rein in on the US….But, China really needs to drastically ramp up its power projection capabilities to be able to really find a ‘balancing lever elsewhere in the world, eg. Africa’….

gerald the punisher
December 2, 2013 at 09:24

GREAT,aid the Taliban,& we work as had as we can to stir up the Muslim populations in the Chinese western most provinces . You know what I think we in the west should help those freedom fighters the “Uyghurs” cast off the yoke of oppression from their godless overloards

December 5, 2013 at 17:14

LOL @ gerald the rubbisher. Chances are the US is killing Muslims in the M.E., Pakistan and Afghanistan faster than China can count them. I guess most of the Uyghurs who were fighting along the Taliban against the US are now lying 3 feet under in unnamed graves over there. You can say that they are under the oppression of the dirt above them.

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