Beijing has warned Washington not to “meddle” in the territorial dispute between China and Japan. Though the US has many thousands of troops stationed in Japan, China, an emerging naval power, is challenging for control of the surrounding seas.
After Washington expressed its discontent over Chinese plans to put the East China Sea under the control of its air forces, Beijing demanded explanations from the American ambassador and advised the US to “correct its mistakes immediately.”
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Yang Yujun called American allegations “completely unreasonable.”
“The United States, on the issue of the Diaoyu islands, must earnestly not take sides, not make inappropriate remarks and not give the wrong signal to Japan and encourage [its] risky behavior,” Yang said in a statement. “We reiterate that the purpose of China’s approach is to defend national sovereignty and territorial airspace security, maintain the order of airspace flight, and is an effective exercise of our right of self-defense.”
On Saturday, Beijing announced plans to establish the “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone” against “potential air threats,” covering most of that sea, including the airspace over islands disputed with Japan.
The Chinese military warned they “will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in identification or refuse to follow instructions.”
The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, have lately strained bilateral relations of the two leading Asian economies to a point where at least a localized military conflict cannot be completely ruled out.
Tokyo, which believes the islands are an inherent part of Japanese territory, has made it clear it “cannot accept at all” the Chinese claim over the disputed territory’s airspace.
“The measures by the Chinese side have no validity whatsoever for Japan, and we demand China revoke any measures that could infringe upon the freedom of flight in international airspace,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday.
RT has the full article