In an interview with China’s state media on Tuesday, a PLA Air Force general warned that Beijing has a right to shoot down hostile aircraft within its recently created East China Sea Air Defense Identification System (ADIZ).
According to South China Morning Post, PLA Air Force major general Qiao Liang explained in an interview that the new ADIZ “provides communication and air force identification between countries, allowing them to identify whether the opposite side is hostile. But if the subject intruding into the zone disregarded any warning, our pilots have the right to shoot it down.”
SCMP said the interview was with China News Service, China’s second largest state-run news agency. According to its Wikipedia page, China News Service caters primarily to Chinese living in Taiwan, Macau and other places abroad.
Qiao did in fact give an interview with China’s News Service on Tuesday, although The Diplomat has not been able to track down the precise article that the SCMP report references. Interestingly, the English-language website contained portions of Qiao’s interview, although his quotes on this website are more conciliatory in nature.
As previously reported, on Saturday morning China Defense Ministry announced it was establishing an ADIZ in the East China Sea which overlapped with Japanese and South Korean ADIZs and covered rocks and isles that Beijing disputes with these two neighbors. When asked about the fact that the new ADIZ overlapped with Japan’s existing one, Major General Qiao responded, “In reverse, we could also argue their zone is overlapping ours.”
The United States and Japan quickly vowed to not recognize China’s demands over the ADIZ, which Washington accused China of using to change the regional status quo.
On Tuesday it was reported that two B-52s had flown through the East China Sea ADIZ without identifying themselves to China on Monday. Qiao’s threats appear to have predated public reports about the B-52 flights, although as a member of the PLA Qiao might have been tipped off about them by Chinese military intelligence. In fact, Beijing claimed on Wednesday that it had monitored the B-52s flight.
Many analysts question whether China has the capabilities to enforce the rules it announced for the East China Sea ADIZ.