BEIJING (TIP): China on December 4 said 55 airlines from 19 countries have accepted its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea. Beijing’s announcement aims to demonstrate the success of its ADIZ in the face of resistance from Japan, South Korea and the US, and coincides with US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to China. These airlines have agreed to submit their flight plans to Chinese authorities before flying into the zone, which includes the disputed Diaoyu Islands being claimed by both China and Japan.
China had earlier scrambled its fighter jets after US and Japanese warplanes entered the zone. The announcement came soon after a meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Biden, during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Tuesday, had expressed concern over China’s ADIZ. Washington had earlier told US-based airlines to abide by China’s requirement that airlines flying into its zone submit flight plans. But it continued to express concern and also advised Beijing to exercise restraint. Japan reacted by establishing a National Security Council that will examine what it regards as a China threat.
But Biden didn’t publicly protest against the zone in Beijing on Wednesday suggesting that the US resistance to it had softened further. Biden spoke in generalities at a reception in the Great Hall of the People and said, “Regional issues keep cropping up and there are more pronounced global challenges such as climate change and energy security. The world is not tranquil”. The official English-language China Daily, in a strongly worded editorial, said Biden “should not expect any substantial headway if he comes simply to repeat his government’s previous erroneous and onesided remarks.”
“If the US is truly committed to lowering tensions in the region, it must first stop acquiescing to Tokyo’s dangerous brinkmanship. It must stop emboldening belligerent Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to constantly push the envelope of Japan’s encroachments and provocations,” the editorial said.