By TRG Alerts Admin
The Rendon Group Snapshot Report
Each week The Rendon Group Alert Team will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. The Snapshot Report is intended to provide a summary of events on a given issue over the past week as well as a sample of experts who cover that issue. The Rendon Group does not endorse the positions on issues that the listed experts hold nor does The Rendon Group hold a position on any of the topics chosen for the Snapshot Reports. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
Tensions in the East China Sea
This week’s snapshot concerns China’s newly-declared air defense identification zone in the East China Sea, which was announced on 23NOV. This shift in the status quo has caused an escalation of tensions in the volatile region. As seen in the map above, a series of disputed territories called the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China are at the center of the tension, which has disturbed the interests of the United States and other regional powers.
News summary of events related to the East China Sea during the week of 25NOV-02DEC
Sample of Twitter handles regarding the East China Sea
@raykwong – Ray Kwong, US/Asia consultant, USC US China Institute Senior Advisor
@niubi – Bill Bishop, Editor of Sinocism China Newsletter
@facklernyt – Tokyo bureau chief for the New York Times
@PMCroninCNAS – Patrick Cronin, Senior Advisor and Senior Director, Asia-Pacific Security Program, Center for a New American Security
@ska_kongshan – Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrant, Asia-Pacific Director at US Institute of Peace
Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the East China Sea
David M. Finkelstein, Director and Vice President, Center for Naval Analyses China Studies Division
“The situation between China and Japan is serious. If a tit-for-tat dynamic between Beijing and Tokyo becomes the operative way of conducting business, things could get worse…What makes this situation so fraught with peril is the possibility of miscalculation.” 5 Questions on China’s Air Defense Identification Zone, The Diplomat, 29NOV13
Shen Dingli, Professor – Institute of International Studies, Fudan University
“If and when China’s newly declared ADIZ is truly challenged, as long as China could identify the incoming foreign aircraft and manage the challenge to a certain degree, China would not send aircraft to “greet” them. But certainly, if the incoming foreign aircraft did not respond to China’s query of identity, and if China detected a threatening posture, its air force would act in a defensive way.” – Opinion: China strikes balance between sovereignty and stability, CNN, 29NOV13
Michael Swaine, Senior Associate – Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
“The number of incidents prompted by Chinese air and sea incursions near the islands has dropped from the highpoint of late 2012. The latest incident (China’s announcement of an ADIZ in the East China Sea) has again increased the level of tension, however, making movement toward tension-reducing talks less likely in at least the short-term.” – Viewpoints: China air zone tensions, BBC, 28NOV13
Cheng Xiaohe, International relations expert – People’s University in Beijing
The US flight represented “a small upgrade on the dispute…If such a situation happens frequently, it will certainly cause a tense situation.” – China Gives Muted Reaction to B-52 Flight in ADIZ, DPA, 27NOV13
Nicholas Consonery, Senior Analyst – Asia Program, Eurasia Group
“There is a perception that because we have more engagement that the geopolitical risk is increasing. While there is a new risk element surrounding the question on how China will enforce the air-defense zone, the broader story is how the U.S. presence will be a mitigating variable.” – U.S. Sends B-52s on Mission to Challenge Chinese Claims, WSJ, 27NOV13
Sample of open source research by TRG analysts related to the East China Sea
1. OPINION: China must rescind its air zone over disputed islands
Media: Washington Post
Byline: Editorial Board
Date: 25 November 2013
OVER THE weekend, China abruptly raised the stakes in a long-simmering dispute over Japanese-controlled East China Sea islands in a manner that is worrisome and reckless. China unilaterally announced the imposition of a new “air defense identification zone” over a broad swath of the sea, demanding that planes identify themselves to China and obey its orders or face potential military action. The zone overlaps a similar one maintained by Japan and is nothing less than an assertion of sovereignty.
At issue are a string of uninhabited islands that are claimed by both countries. Last year, Japan bought them from a private owner; China increased the frequency of patrol ships, and Japan responded with patrols of its own. The United States is neutral in the territorial dispute but committed to the defense of Japan, and it has repeatedly urged both Asian powers to negotiate.
2. China ‘monitored’ US flights over disputed islands in East China Sea
Media: The Telegraph (UK)
Byline: Tom Phillips and Julian Ryall
Date: 27 November 2013
China’s defence ministry has said it had “monitored” and “identified” two US B-52 nuclear bombers that flew through Beijing’s controversial new air defence zone on Monday in defiance of the Asian giant.
China’s self-declared “Air Defense Identification Zone” (ADIZ), which includes the skies over islands disputed by China and Japan, was unveiled on Saturday with Chinese military chiefs vowing to enforce it with “emergency defensive measures”.
But on Monday the United States defied Chinese attempts to impose its new rules by flying two unarmed aircraft through the zone without identifying themselves to Chinese authorities as Beijing had demanded.
3. China flies fighter jets into disputed air defense zone; Japan remains defiant
Byline: Jethro Mullen and Yoko Wakatsuki
Date: 28 November 2013
(CNN) — China sent fighter jets into its newly claimed — and hotly disputed — air defense zone above the East China Sea on Thursday, the same day that Japan’s military firmly insisted its own patrols over the area wouldn’t stop because of Beijing’s declaration.
The People’s Liberation Army Air Force flew warplanes, including Su-30 and J-11 aircraft, into the “air defense identification zone” that Beijing announced last week, air force spokesman Col. Shen Jinke said. A KJ-2000 — an airborne radar early warning system — also took flight.
The Russian-developed Su-30 is a two-seat aircraft described by its manufacturer as “a highly maneuverable fighter” capable of hitting ground and sea-surface targets. The Chinese-made J-11 is a single-seat fighter also capable of ground attacks.
4. Xi Jinping Overreaches in the East China Sea
Byline: William Pesek
Date: 28 November 2013
The Communist Party summit that recast Xi Jinping as a reformer extraordinaire has produced its first foreign-policy initiative: poking Japan in the eye.
That seems to be the point of China’s declaration of a vast “air defense identification zone,” in which Beijing has essentially claimed the airspace around disputed islands administered by Japan. The provocation came just two weeks after the party called for a new national security council to coordinate military, domestic and intelligence operations in China. Political analysts who worried that the body might herald a deepening Asian Cold War weren’t being entirely paranoid.
There’s nothing particularly shocking about establishing such a council, state-run media says. The U.S. and Russia both have one, after all, and even Japan is talking about creating its own. Besides, as the Xinhua News Agency was kind enough to inform readers in a Nov. 22 explainer piece, “China is a stabilizer for world peace and security, and the new commission is like a performance guarantee for the stabilizer and will in turn bring benefits to the whole world.”
5. China sends warplanes into East China Sea air zone
Media: Christian Science Monitor
Byline: Sara Miller Llana
Date: 29 November 2013
China has upped the ante in the East China Sea by sending warplanes into its new defense zone, the country’s state-run media announced today.
China unexpectedly announced the airzone, which covers territory claimed by several nations in the region, last week, angering Japan, the US, South Korea, and even the European Union.
Air force Spokesman Col. Shen Jinke told the state news agency Xinhua Friday that China dispatched the aircraft Thursday as part of a routine defense measure “in line with international common practices.”
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