Overlapping Air zones in Asia

The new air defense zone declared by China appears to have been approved by President Xi Jinping, the culmination of more than a year of pressure by Beijing to weaken Japan’s grip on disputed islands in the East China Sea, and by extension to expand China’s long-term access to the Western Pacific.

Presumably Chinese strategists put some careful thought into this strategy, but they have intentionally overlapped the South Korea air zone and South Korea had been cozying up to China. Also, even if Japan did not recognize the dispute, China could have kept saying there was a dispute and waited out as China power increases over time versus Japan and the US. Is the timing because of internal politics and/or the oil or how long they expect this new strategy to play out or some other factor ?

As the tensions mounted this year in the East China Sea, with Chinese and Japanese planes flying in close quarters over the disputed islands — known as Diaoyu in China, and Senkaku in Japan — Japan often complained that China’s planes were flying in the Japanese air defense zone.

The leadership reasoned that if Japan had an air defense zone for the past 40 years, China should have one, too, as a way of achieving parity, and as a tool to eventually wrest the islands from Japan’s control, Mr. Jia said.

But Tokyo’s position on the islands is simply that there is no dispute, that the islands belong to Japan and there is nothing more to discuss.

It is this Japanese position that Mr. Xi and his top military and foreign policy advisers wanted to change.

China’s top foreign policy makers believed that China’s new air defense zone overlapping with Japan’s and covering the islands would be “another way to force Japan to recognize there is a dispute,” and come to the negotiating table, Mr. Jia and other experts said.

The tactics are a prelude to building a blue-water navy capable of operating across deep oceans, said Scott Harold, a Hong Kong-based analyst with the RAND Corp

On Nov. 23, China declared the right to monitor and request identification from aircraft flying above much of the East China Sea. China’s newly claimed airspace overlaps with similar claims by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan

“China is no longer focusing just on Diaoyu Island, not only on the gas field of the East China Sea median line, but this is a way of breaking through the first island chain to reach the ocean,” the account said.

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