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US and PRC Governments, Statements on China’s East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, November – December, 2013
The United States is deeply concerned about China's announcement that they've established an "East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone." This unilateral action constitutes an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea. Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident.
Freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability, and security in the Pacific. We don't support efforts by any State to apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter its national airspace. The United States does not apply its ADIZ procedures to foreign aircraft not intending to enter U.S. national airspace. We urge China not to implement its threat to take action against aircraft that do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing.
We have urged China to exercise caution and restraint, and we are consulting with Japan and other affected parties, throughout the region. We remain steadfastly committed to our allies and partners, and hope to see a more collaborative and less confrontational future in the Pacific.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel issued the following statement in Washington, DC, Nov. 23, 2013
The United States is deeply concerned by the People's Republic of China announcement today that it is establishing an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea. We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region. This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.
This announcement by the People's Republic of China will not in any way change how the United States conducts military operations in the region.
The United States is conveying these concerns to China through diplomatic and military channels, and we are in close consultation with our allies and partners in the region, including Japan.
We remain steadfast in our commitments to our allies and partners. The United States reaffirms its longstanding policy that Article V of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands.
Q: Some are worried that the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) has further ratcheted up tensions between China and Japan. What is China's comment?
A: I have elaborated on the purpose of China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. China is not the cause of tensions in the region. If you take a look at the whole history and status quo of the Diaoyu islands issue, you can reach the conclusion that China is not the one that has caused regional tensions and instability. China's establishment of the Zone is aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty and security of territory and territorial airspace and maintaining the order of flight. We hope relevant countries could stop unreasonable pestering or hyping, respect international law and facts and stop all the actions that undermine China's national sovereignty, interests and rights so as to create conditions for the proper settlement of the relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation.
Q: The US has expressed concerns about China's establishment of the ADIZ, saying that China's unilateral change to the status quo has brought uncertainties and escalated tensions. What is China's comment?
A: We have noticed the comments made by the US.
I want to point out one more time that the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ by the Chinese government is in line with international laws and practices such as the UN Charter. It is aimed at defending China's national sovereignty and security of territory and territorial airspace. It is not directed against any particular country or target, nor does it affect the freedom of overflight in relevant airspace.
I want to highlight that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China is firm in defending its territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands. The current tensions over the Diaoyu islands are completely caused by Japan's erroneous actions. On the issue concerning the sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands, the US should make good on its commitment, that is, neither taking sides nor releasing improper remarks any more. China's Foreign Ministry and Ministry of National Defense have respectively lodged solemn representations with the US, calling on the US to immediately correct mistakes and stop making irresponsible accusations against China.
Q: First, would China resort to armed forces if Japanese civil aircrafts entered the East China Sea ADIZ established by China? Second, what is China's rationale in establishing the ADIZ?
A: On your first question, I suggest you carefully read relevant announcements issued by the Chinese government and the remarks made by the Spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense, which explicitly point out that normal flight activities by foreign international airlines within the East China Sea ADIZ will not be affected at all.
On your second question, China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ is based on domestic laws such as the Law of the People's Republic of China on National Defense, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Civil Aviation and the Basic Rules on Flight of the People's Republic of China and is in line with the UN Charter as well as other international laws and practices.
Q: Is China going to establish another air defense identification zone in the South China Sea?
A: China will establish other Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ) in due course after completing relevant preparations.
Q: First, what is China's formal response to the two US B-52 bombers' flight over the East China Sea ADIZ? Second, what is China's comment on Japan's refusal to observe the rules of filing flight plans to China?
A: On your first question, the Spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense has released a statement at noon, from which you can find answers to the questions you are interested in.
On your second question, there are explicit provisions in the Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Denfense Identification Zone of the People's Republic of China. We hope that all relevant parties could cooperate actively to jointly maintain flight security. The Announcement has stipulated corresponding measures to deal with different situations….
Q: Given the US military planes' flight over the East China Sea ADIZ and the fact that Japan ignores China's announcement and refuses to file flight plans, is China concerned that the East China Sea ADIZ will be viewed as a "paper tiger"?
A: The term "paper tiger" has a special implication. You may check what Chairman Mao referred to as a "paper tiger".
I want to stress that the Chinese government is fully determined and capable of defending national sovereignty and security. We also have the capability to exercise effective management over the airspace of the East China Sea ADIZ.
Q: The Statement by China's National Defense Ministry said that they were monitoring and identifying the US military planes flying over the East China Sea ADIZ. Is that the consequence that foreign flights will face if they enter the ADIZ? Will China take any tougher measure?
A: China has responded to the two US military planes' flight over the East China Sea ADIZ in accordance with the provisions of the Announcement. We will make corresponding reactions in light of the situation and the degree of threat that we may face.
Q: China has made solemn representations about the Australian Foreign Minister's concerns about China's establishment of the ADIZ. In what form were these representations made? Will this episode affect her upcoming visit to China?
A: China has made solemn representations to Australia through the diplomatic channel. With regard to the Australian Foreign Minister's upcoming visit to China, we believe that the two sides will have discussions on a wide range of issues.
Q: Can you clarify that if a civilian aircraft flies into the ADIZ without abiding by its rules, passengers and crew of the aircraft will not be at risk?
A: The Announcement has made things clear and there is no need for me to clarify it. I suggest you read the Announcement carefully.
China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ does not change the legal status of the related airspace, nor does it affect the freedom of overflight that countries enjoy in accordance with international law. If any problem or situation occurs, China will deal with it correspondingly in accordance with the Announcement….
Q: Japanese media reported that in response to China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ, Japan's Ministry of Defense will enlarge its ADIZ. What is China's comment?
A: I have not got any formal information on that. I want to stress that China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ is a legitimate act of exercising the right of self-defense. It is not directed against any particular country or target. There is no need for the relevant country to make a fuss over it, get into a panic or assume that it has been targeted.
PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang spoke at the regular press briefing in Beijing on Nov. 28, 2013
Q: China and Australia are going to start a negotiation on the free trade agreement. Will the current difference between the two countries about the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) have an effect on the negotiation?
A: Both China and Australia are important countries in the Asia Pacific. The two countries enjoy broad common interests. The enhancement of bilateral cooperation not only serves the interests of the two countries and two peoples, but also brings benefit to regional peace and prosperity.
The two countries are in communication on the FTA negotiation. We hope that the Australian side could create more favorable conditions and do more things that are beneficial for bilateral cooperation and the sound and smooth development of bilateral relations.
Q: There is still confusion in the aviation industry about the East China Sea ADIZ. Does the establishment of the ADIZ mean that a plane flying from Shanghai to Tokyo which used to file a flight plan with the Chinese authorities has to file another plan? What is the penalty for airlines that do not comply?
A: I have repeatedly answered this question. In accordance with the Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People's Republic of China, aircrafts flying over the East China Sea ADIZ should report the flight plans to the Chinese side. We hope that all relevant parties, including the airlines, could cooperate actively to jointly maintain flight security. I would point you to China's civil aviation administrations for the specifics. As far as I have learned, airlines of many countries and regions have already reported their flight plans to China's civil aviation administrations as required. It is obvious for all to see that, since the Announcement was released, flights in the related airspace, especially those by civil airlines, have been secure, normal and unaffected at all. We have been saying that foreign airlines' normal overflights in the East China Sea ADIZ will not be affected.
Q: Two main Japanese airlines have been told by the Japanese government not to report their flight plans to China. Is there a risk that aircrafts of these two airlines could be shot down by the Chinese side? Can you give us a guarantee that these aircrafts will not be shot down?
A: I want to reiterate that China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ is not directed against normal international passenger flights. We hope that airlines of relevant countries will cooperate actively to make their flights more orderly and secure.
Q: Will China consider setting up a similar air defense identification zone in its border with India?
A: I want to make clear the concept of the air defense identification zone. It is an area of airspace established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace. Therefore, what you have said does not constitute a question.
Q: Are you saying civil airlines flying through the East China Sea ADIZ do not have to file flight plans with the Chinese military?
A: I want to stress once again that the East China Sea ADIZ is not directed against passenger aircrafts that carry out normal flights in this airspace. We have released the relevant announcement with explicit provisions. We hope that airlines could cooperate actively with us.
Q: Defense ministers of Japan and the US had a telephone conversation, saying that they do not recognize China's ADIZ and will continue to be on guard and carry on with their monitoring activities in this airspace. What is China's comment?
A: We have repeatedly expounded on our position on the East China Sea ADIZ. It is completely unjustifiable for Japan and the US to make irresponsible remarks on that. We have lodged solemn representations respectively with Japan and the US to refute their remarks. We call on the Japanese and American sides to earnestly reflect on themselves, immediately correct their mistakes, stop making groundless accusations against China, stop creating frictions and refrain from words and deeds that undermine regional stability.
Q: Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin met with US Deputy Secretary of State Burns on November 27 in the US, talking about relevant issues concerning China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. There is also a vice ministerial level strategic dialogue between the defense ministries of China and the ROK. How will China communicate with Japan? Will China consider sending officials to Japan or inviting Japanese officials to China?
A: The meeting between Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and US Deputy Secretary of State Burns and the third China-ROK strategic dialogue on national defense are previously scheduled. China had extensive and in-depth exchanges of views respectively with the US and the ROK on issues of common interest. Of course China reiterated its position and proposition on the relevant issue. We have conveyed our position on the issue concerning the ADIZ to the Japanese side many times. It is not the case that there is no channel of communication between China and Japan, rather, it is the case that Japan should show sincerity, create conditions for bilateral dialogue and communication as well as the effective management and settlement of differences and make concrete efforts to improve and develop bilateral relations.
PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang speaking at the press briefing in Beijing on Nov. 29, 2013
Q: Japanese media reported that a former senior official of the Chinese government has offered to the Japanese to build a crisis management mechanism to avoid problems in the air. Can you confirm that? Is that China's official position?
A: With regard to the issue concerning the overlapping part of the air defense identification zones of China and Japan in the East China Sea, China is of the view that the two sides should enhance communication and jointly maintain flight security. When it comes to the differences between China and Japan on the issue of sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands, China always maintains that the two sides should explore ways to effectively manage differences and solve problems through dialogue and negotiation. The current difficulty is that the Japanese side has been shying away from holding substantive negotiation with China. We hope that the Japanese side could stop just paying lip service or making a show, but make concrete efforts.
Q: I am wondering if you can confirm that China sent several fighter jets and an early-warning aircraft to the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)? And if so, what is the purpose of those patrol flights?
A: The Spokesperson of China's air force has released a statement, to which you may refer.
Q: Is China planning to set up ADIZs over the South China Sea and other areas over which it has claims of sovereignty.
A: I have answered many times the same question.
Q: Yesterday, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy asked China and Japan to moderate their positions regarding the ADIZ so as to avoid regional tensions. How does China respond?
A: China has expounded on its position on and rationale for the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. We hope that the EU could have an objective and rational understanding on that. Madame Ashton should have known that some EU countries also have their ADIZs. I am wondering whether these ADIZs have made the situation in Europe become tense. If both European countries and Japan can have ADIZs, why can't China?
Q: First, regarding the dispatch of China's military aircrafts to the ADIZ, is it a regular schedule or is it particularly in response to the announcement of the ADIZ? Second, what does China expect commercial airliners to do? Does China ask them to report where they are going?
A: On your first question, I would point you to China's National Defense Ministry for further information. The Chinese military has the right to conduct air patrol in the East China Sea ADIZ in light of air defense needs. It conforms to internationally-accepted practices.
On your second question, we have clarified that many times. I also hope that journalists can tell the ADIZ from the territorial airspace. The ADIZ is not the territorial airspace, nor is it the enlargement of a country's territorial airspace. It is just an area of airspace established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace. The legal status of the related airspace remains unchanged. Normal flights in accordance with international law by aircrafts, including those by passenger airliners, will not be affected. Some territorial airspace-oriented measures based on sovereign rights can not and will not be applied to the ADIZ. In fact, since we released relevant statement and announcement, the freedom and order of flight above the East China Sea have not been affected at all and have been as secure and free as ever.
Q: It is said in the Chinese military's statement earlier today that China's air force has been on high alert. Can you tell us what that exactly means?
A: China's armed forces shoulder the mission of protecting the country and safeguarding peace. They are on high alert at each and every moment.
Q: You referred many times to ADIZs established by other countries, but there is a difference. For example, an aircraft which is passing through the US ADIZ without entering the sovereign US airspace does not have to notify US authorities. China has not clarified whether a plane flying from Tokyo to Manila via China's East China Sea ADIZ has to notify Chinese authorities. Why won't China do that?
A: Regarding the ADIZ, there is no explicit provision in international law about what forms of reports should be submitted by what kinds of planes or during what kinds of flights. In fact, different countries have set different rules in accordance with their own conditions. Therefore, China's relevant conducts do not violate international law. Rather, they conform to international practices. The Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People's Republic of China has provisions on the specific question you raised.
Q: Japanese diplomats reportedly said yesterday that the Japanese government had decided to hold a special summit with ASEAN leaders in December when Japan will convey to ASEAN countries its concerns about China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ with the hope that ASEAN countries will echo its position. What is China's comment? Is China worried that the situation in the region will thus tense up?
A: We have repeatedly expounded on our position on the East China Sea ADIZ. I have also seen relevant reports.
Japan should tell other countries whether it has its own ADIZ or not, whether it consulted with other countries before establishing and enlarging time and again its ADIZ or not and how large its ADIZ is. It is totally unjustifiable and with ulterior motives when one, while not allowing others to exercise their legitimate rights, acts on its own will and carries out inflammatory activities hither and thither.
China's establishment of the ADIZ is not directed against any particular country or target. It is completely an exercise of valid self-defense rights. It will not in itself heighten regional tensions. As I said just now, over the past week, the flight order and normal flights over the East China Sea have not been affected at all. If some are worried that the situation is being somewhat tense, it has been instigated by some particular country. Any country or any person, as long as they respect China's sovereignty and security, has no need to feel nervous.
I want to point out that China which has suffered greatly from external aggression since modern times has made enormous sacrifice and remarkable contributions to the victory of the world anti-Fascist war. The Chinese people cherish peace and value sovereignty. China is a responsible major country that has publicly declared to the whole world that it sticks fast to the path of peaceful development and firmly upholds the defense policy that is defensive in nature and the policy of good neighborliness and friendship. We would like to stay in amity with countries around the world based on mutual respect and equality. With regard to the territorial and maritime disputes between China and some countries, we maintain that these disputes should be solved through friendly consultation in a peaceful manner. China will always be a positive force that upholds peace and stability in the region and beyond.
US Department of State spokesperson, Washington, DC, Nov. 29, 2013
Question: Is there any specific guidance or information we are giving to U.S. carriers operating in China's recently declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)?
Answer: Freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability, and security in the Pacific. We remain deeply concerned by China's November 23 declaration of an "East China Sea Air Identification Zone."
The U.S. government generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally will operate consistent with NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen) issued by foreign countries. Our expectation of operations by U.S. carriers consistent with NOTAMs does not indicate U.S. government acceptance of China's requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki in Washington, DC, Dec. 2, 2013
QUESTION: Thank you, Jen. So as we know, the U.S. Government has already told U.S. carriers to comply with China’s requirements before any flights pass through the new air defense zone established by the Chinese Government. So does that mean the U.S. Government has recognized this new air defense zone established by the Chinese Government?
MS. PSAKI: So let me be absolutely as clear as I can be here because I know there’s been a range of reporting. It has been – some of it has been inaccurate, to no fault of – perhaps it’s our fault for not explaining it well enough. So we are not – the State Department is not the point of contact with airlines. The FAA is the point of contact with airlines. There has not been any information that has been put out or confirmed that I am aware of that has conveyed what has or has not been communicated in that capacity to airlines.
There is – for safety and security of passengers, U.S. carriers operate internationally – operate consistently as a process with the notices to airmen issued by foreign countries, as is the case in this case. Their concerns are about the safety and security of passengers. That is different from what the U.S. Government policy is. It is not – this is in no way indicates U.S. Government acceptance of China’s requirements in the newly declared ADIZ and has absolutely no bearing on the firm and consistent U.S. Government position that we do not accept the legitimacy of China’s requirements.
This is a case where China announced this in an uncoordinated fashion. It’s inconsistent with standard practice. And their requirements for operating exceed internationally accepted practice in this capacity. So I don’t know how much more clear that it is, but it does contradict a bit your question, so I wanted –
QUESTION: It looks like we received the statement or the Q&A from the State Department, so it looks like it’s from the U.S. Government. And also, you are saying --
MS. PSAKI: Well, in that statement, which I certainly was well aware of, what was conveyed in there is that for safety and – for the safety and security of passengers, U.S. carriers operate consistently internationally with the notices to airmen issued by foreign governments. It did not convey that – anything specific about what had been communicated to airlines. It did not convey that the U.S. Government supported this effort. So I’m very familiar with the statement you’re referring to, and there were a lot of – there were some assumptions made.
QUESTION: So (inaudible) --
QUESTION: Okay. It looks like --
QUESTION: -- that the FAA did not instruct airlines to comply with the Chinese regulations?
MS. PSAKI: I would point you to the FAA for what they did or did not communicate to commercial airlines.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, the FAA is part of the U.S. Government, is it not?
MS. PSAKI: They are. They --
MS. PSAKI: Certainly, they are not housed in the State Department, however. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: So – I understand that, but the State Department does have a representative – you’re familiar with the ICAO?
MS. PSAKI: I am not.
QUESTION: Okay. It’s in Montreal.
MS. PSAKI: Okay.
QUESTION: It’s a good excuse to get to Montreal --
MS. PSAKI: Good.
QUESTION: -- if you ever want to go up there.
MS. PSAKI: I will take that advice.
QUESTION: It’s the International Civilian – it’s the civilian airline – the UN agency for airlines. Do you know if the United States is going to use its membership in the ICAO to oppose this Chinese decision?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t.
QUESTION: And if you don’t know, could you ask?
MS. PSAKI: Yeah, I’m happy to check on that for you, Matt. Absolutely.
QUESTION: And when you say that the U.S. Government does not accept the legitimacy of the Chinese requirements --
MS. PSAKI: Well, it doesn’t accept – yeah, the Chinese requirements, right.
QUESTION: Right. That’s what you said.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Doesn’t that – if the FAA has been telling airlines that they have to comply with this, or that they should comply with it, how is that not accepting – the government accepting the legitimacy?
MS. PSAKI: Well, there’s a whole field of regulations and regulatory policy that I am certainly far from an aviation expert, as it evidenced by your Montreal question. So I would point you to them on that.
Evidence of the fact that the U.S. Government does not accept China’s requirement is by the fact that the announcement will not change how the United States conducts military operations in the region, which is something DOD announced last week. And that is certainly a U.S. Government decision to make.
QUESTION: So does that mean that U.S. Government planes will not obey the – or will not follow the Chinese requirements if they’re flying through this airspace?
MS. PSAKI: Military planes?
QUESTION: Say the Secretary of State flying on an Air Force plane to Seoul or to Tokyo will not notify the --
MS. PSAKI: I am not aware of any upcoming Seoul trip coming up.
QUESTION: Well, the Vice President is there right now, or in Tokyo, at least. Are you saying that his plane, an Air Force plane, will not follow the requirements of the Chinese?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I am saying military planes would not, and that level of specificity I’d certainly have to check and see where that falls in.
QUESTION: What is this episode – what impact is this episode having on U.S.-Sino relations?
MS. PSAKI: There are times when we agree and there are times when we disagree, as you know. We’ve made clear our concerns about not only what was announced but how this was announced, the fact that there was no prior notice. As you also know, Vice President Biden is in the region now on a prior planned trip. He will, of course, be meeting with key leaders to discuss a range of issues. Certainly, this could be a topic of discussion, but there are a number of other issues that we discuss both with China and other partners in the region.
QUESTION: And has the pivot to Asia worked? Is this evidence of the pivot working?
MS. PSAKI: I wouldn’t categorize this into – I wouldn’t put this in the evaluation category of whether or not it worked. Our pivot to Asia, or rebalance to Asia, means focusing on Asia and the important partnership we have with Asia, with countries in the region, the economic and strategic partners. And nothing is further evidence of that than the Vice President’s trip there, the fact that, as you know, the Secretary will be going back to Asia soon, that he was just there a couple of months ago with Secretary Hagel. So that is evidence of our commitment to the region. And we work with them on a – countries in the region on a broad range of issues.
QUESTION: But as we survey the last five years of this Administration, would you say that China is less aggressive in its serial commission of human rights abuses, currency manipulation, cyber warfare against U.S. businesses and government, territorial aggression, or is it better than it used to be?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to do an evaluation of that. Obviously, we work with them on economic issues, we work with them on strategic issues. There are still issues, including human rights, including this issue we’re talking about now, that we express concerns about when warranted, and we’ll continue to do that. But we know that the relationship is a vital one and one that we need to keep plugging away at even when we disagree.
QUESTION: Jen, could I (inaudible) for a second?
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Is it fair to characterize the U.S. position as being that aside from the official policy, for the purposes of safety and avoiding some kind of unfortunate incident, that commercial carriers should abide by the Chinese ADIZ requirements?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have – I’d point you again to the FAA on more specifics than what I just conveyed. There are a range of regulations and policies that, of course, they oversee or are in place, but our general position as a U.S. Government is that we don’t accept China’s requirements. And obviously, the military – actions of military exercises is evidence of that.
QUESTION: Jen, this comes from --
QUESTION: Sorry, sorry. Just a quick follow-up on that.
MS. PSAKI: Go ahead.
QUESTION: It looks like the two main U.S. airlines are complying with – are taking steps to comply. Delta and United are the two that have flight routes through the area, which seems to have kind of created a little bit of confusion/consternation in Japan over a perceived rift with Japanese policy, which is to not allow U.S. commercial airliners to file their flight plans with China. Do you have a – do you have any kind of reassurance or any kind of response to that?
MS. PSAKI: We coordinate closely with Japan and with South Korea and all of the countries in the region about a range of issues. And certainly on this issue, we have been in touch with Japan and will continue to be. This is – for specific actions of individual commercial airliners, I would point you to them or the FAA on any regulations.
QUESTION: But – so you’re not – but you’re not afraid for the safety or concerned about the safety of U.S. citizens on flights that are flying through the area?
MS. PSAKI: Well, certainly safety and security of citizens should be of concern to everyone. Obviously, there are policies in place and regulations in place because of that. But we don’t oversee airline regulations. The FAA does, so I would point you to them.
QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Did the United States Government – the position has changed toward this ADIZ, or not changed? What is the position to ADIZ now?
MS. PSAKI: It has not changed. We – China announced the ADIZ without prior consultations even though the newly-announced ADIZ overlaps with parts of longstanding ADIZs of Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Taiwan, and includes territory administered by Japan. As I mentioned, we – the fact that China’s announcement has caused confusion and increased the risk of accidents only further underscores the validity of concerns and the need for China to rescind the procedures. It’s consistently been our position and one we have communicated both publicly and privately. I know there was some confusion over the weekend about airlines and specifically.
QUESTION: Jen, you said that you are not still – not accepting China’s new air defense zone. But I wonder, like, Japan has its own air defense zone, and also part of it covers Taiwan. But it looks like the U.S. doesn’t say anything about it. So do you think there is sort of a double standard? Why do you react so strongly to China’s air defense zone?
MS. PSAKI: Well, one of the reasons is that they announced this without prior consultations. It was inconsistent with longstanding procedure and process. And obviously, it overlaps with a number of other longstanding air defense zones of some other neighboring countries.
QUESTION: Jen --
QUESTION: Jen, you do not contest the ability of China to declare such a identification zone; it’s just the manner in which they did it, or the extent?
MS. PSAKI: No. I think I have – I’ve just consistently said that we believe they should rescind the procedures. I’ve just – I’ve also stated a couple of times that we don’t accept China’s requirements. So I think I’ve made that pretty clear.
QUESTION: Is the first --
QUESTION: In response to the – China’s declaration of its own ADIZ, the South Korean Government is poised to expand its own ADIZ, so-called KADIZ, to the South China Sea. What is the position of the United States? Would you encourage it or discourage it?
MS. PSAKI: I haven’t seen those reports, or I don’t even know if they’re reports or if there’s been an announcement. I haven’t seen any announcement, I guess I should say. So let me check into that, and --
QUESTION: They say they have already started consultations with the United States.
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check into it and see if we have more to say on that.
QUESTION: Is this the first time the U.S. has called --
QUESTION: Jennifer, you talk about safety --
QUESTION: -- for the zone to be rescinded?
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to check on that for you, Roz.
QUESTION: Can we change topic?
QUESTION: You talk about safety. Are you really concerned that the Chinese may down an airliner or something?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not predicting that, but certainly there is – they created these Air Defense Identification Zones, they’ve asked for prior flight plans. So of course, the security and safety is part of the regulatory process, and – but I don’t have any predictions. It’s just the question of abiding by it.
QUESTION: Is it a real concern, downing an airliner?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t think I have any more for you on that question.
QUESTION: Jen, when you’re taking that question that Roz had --
MS. PSAKI: Sure.
QUESTION: -- could you also check whether the United States actually is directly asking the Chinese to rescind it?
MS. PSAKI: Happy to. Sure.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Well, at least --
QUESTION: Apart from the specific concerns about how this was announced without any prior notice, its excessiveness, at least in terms of other regulations, and the safety risks that you say it cause, do you have any – are there broader concerns about this area being identified as essentially the entire East China Sea? Is the U.S. concerned that the Chinese are looking at anything on a map that has the word “China” in it as all their own?
MS. PSAKI: Well, part of the concern is certainly that it overlaps with parts of other --
QUESTION: Right. But in terms of territorial claims --
MS. PSAKI: As well as territory administered by Japan, sure.
QUESTION: Right, right. But in terms of China’s territorial claims, are you concerned that this is the first step or could be a first step towards actually moving in some kind of forceful way to take control of areas of territory and ocean maritime space that it says that it owns?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t want to make a prediction of that.
QUESTION: No, but I’m asking if you were concerned --
MS. PSAKI: But --
QUESTION: -- that this is a step in that direction, apart from the specific problems with the no prior notice and all that other – the safety concerns.
MS. PSAKI: But one of the specific problems is also that this includes area – territory administered by Japan, it includes overlapping area with other countries in the region. So certainly, that does touch on what your question is here. In terms of a prediction of what it will mean in the future, I certainly wouldn’t venture to make that at this point.
QUESTION: Right. Well, the Chinese say that they would be well within their rights also to declare one of these zones over the entire – over the South China Sea. Are you concerned about the possibility of that?
MS. PSAKI: Well, you’re familiar with what our position is on that, and we’ve long --
QUESTION: Well, that’s over the territorial disputes over the – it’s a question of sovereignty for these little atolls and bits of rock.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Would you be as opposed as you are to this if the Chinese did it for the South China Sea, or is that a hypothetical question that you will wait to bash the Chinese over the head for once they – if and when they do it?
MS. PSAKI: It is a hypothetical question at this stage in time.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: One more thing. Just one more thing on that. China at the same time has announced they sent a fighter jet against United States and Japanese aircraft last week. Did you comment on that?
MS. PSAKI: I am not familiar with that specific report. In – where, exactly?
QUESTION: If it’s true, are you concerned about these Chinese announcement?
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to look at the specific report, and that may be a DOD question.
QUESTION: Given that China makes this declaration --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- and we regard it as thoroughly problematic, if not illegal, and therefore we have on our hands a dispute with the Chinese --
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: -- which is to be adjudicated somehow in a nonviolent way, wasn’t it a kind of a provocative act for the United States to fly B-52s through that very zone in a short time thereafter?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I would point you to DOD on that, but I would reiterate the fact that we have made clear that this action, this announcement, is not going to change our military exercises. And that is an example of that.
QUESTION: So other than taking – other than the Vice President, are you aware – or has there been at this point any conversations that you’re aware of in this – from this building with the Chinese directly? It’s kind of on Jill’s question. And if not, do you expect them or is this going to be left up to the Vice President when he goes to --
MS. PSAKI: Let me check. I know we have expressed concerns. I mentioned this last week, Matt, so let me just make sure you have it.
QUESTION: Jen, the – Secretary Kerry did meet on Wednesday with a senior Chinese official?
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to --
QUESTION: On Wednesday, the vice premier.
MS. PSAKI: I’d have to look back at that. It seems like a long time ago.
QUESTION: I know it does. And it was happening on Wednesday.
MS. PSAKI: Deputy Secretary Burns met last week with a Chinese official where this was a topic of discussion. Also, Assistant Secretary Russel spoke with the ambassador about a week ago, and Ambassador Locke has also been in touch, of course, on the ground. In terms of specific contacts over the last couple of days, I’m happy to check and see what else we can read out for all of you.
QUESTION: Are you taking this to the UN in any forum there?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any prediction of that, James, at this point in time.
QUESTION: New topic?
QUESTION: So it’s strictly a bilateral or a multilateral thing, but outside the auspices of the UN is how you’re going to seek to resolve it?
MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t have anything for you on it at this point. We’re taking this day by day. I conveyed for you what we’ve done and what we’ve communicated. But obviously, we’re taking steps day by day.
QUESTION: But is that a kind of – is that a consideration?
MS. PSAKI: Not that I’m aware of, Elise. But obviously, we’re taking this day by day.
QUESTION: Can we change --
QUESTION: New subject?
MS. PSAKI: Sure, Jill. Go ahead.
QUESTION: I’m still on China. Can you actually clarify this? China’s argument is that we institute the ADIZ that other countries have already instituted. If you’re saying that China does not have a right to do that, they can say, well, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And it doesn’t seem like you have a legal foot to stand on. If you’re opposed to the way in which they did it or the extent of it, these can be a subject of debate. And China has said we can get rid of our ADIZ if the Japanese get rid of theirs. I mean, something like that could happen. But somehow – are you really saying that you do not accept – you do not give China the right to declare a defense identification zone?
MS. PSAKI: I think I’ve thoroughly outlined what our concerns are, so I’m not sure I have much more to add to your question.
Vice President Joseph Biden in Beijing, Dec. 5, 2013 (to American Chamber of Commerce and US-China Business Council)
We need to keep building practical cooperation and manage areas where we do not see eye-to-eye. Everybody focuses on where we disagree with the Chinese. We disagree with our allies in other parts of the world. But China's recent and sudden announcement of the establishment of a new Air Defense Identification Zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region.
US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki at the press briefing in Washington, DC, Dec. 9, 2013
QUESTION: Yeah. South Korea has announced the expansion of the ADIZ yesterday. And I know you released a statement – I think it’s yesterday – the United States appreciated South Korea’s effort and action, which is in a responsible and deliberate fashion. Could you explain in more detail what’s the difference between Chinese action and the South Koreans’ in more detail?
MS. PSAKI: Sure. Well, one, the South Koreans – you referenced this, but we appreciate their efforts to pursue the action that they took, which is adjusting their ADIZ – not creating a new one, but adjusting it. Two, pursuing this action in a responsible, deliberate fashion by prior consultations with not just the United States, but also, very importantly, with Japan and China. That was not a step, as you know, that was taken by China. We also appreciate their commitment to implement this adjustment in a manner consistent with international practice and respect for the freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of international airspace.
So one of our concerns, as you know, because we’ve talked about this a bit, was about confusion created, the different signals and messages that could come from different governments, related to the China announcement. So this helps avoid that confusion because of the cooperation and coordination in advance.
But in terms of specifics, they – South Korea’s announcement made an adjustment to a longstanding ADIZ, so that’s an important component; it keeps within its recognized flight information region – FIR is another way that it’s referred to. It also, importantly, doesn’t encompass territory administered by another country, which was another area that had drawn some concern from our end related to the China ADIZ.
QUESTION: But at the same time, a Chinese spokesman of foreign – minister of foreign affairs, has also announced the regret, deep concern, against South Korean ADIZ.
MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: Do you have some comment about – toward this?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any comment specific to that comment. I gave our comment as it relates to South Korea’s announcement.
QUESTION: It’s not actually – I’m sorry, go ahead. Go, please.
MS. PSAKI: Okay. Then before the Chinese announcements, the air security could be sustained (inaudible) control because the ADIZ of Japan and South Korea and in Taiwan was not overlapped, but after the announcements of Chinese ADIZ – as you know now, the ADIZ of Japan and China and South Korea and Taiwan was overlapped. So what do you – how do you analysis this condition, and are you concerned about the miscalculation about this?
MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure I completely understand your question. Are you asking why – what we were concerned about? Or can you try --
QUESTION: Yeah. Concerned about the overlapping of these four country in the regions.
QUESTION: I think your question, then, is the same one I wanted to ask, which is exactly that, which is to say you now have ADIZs from different countries that overlap. Could that not in and of it – does that not raise concerns to the United States, and could that not in and of itself cause confusion, accident?
MS. PSAKI: Well, that was one of our concerns that we spoke about as it related to China’s announcement of the ADIZ. It was done without prior consultation; there was overlap with other areas including territory – disputed territory, which of course is concerning. It also meant that airliners could receive different conflicting information from different countries, which makes it very, very confusing. South Korea consulted with Japan, with China, with neighbors, before they updated, revised their – made an adjustment to their longstanding ADIZ. So that’s one of the differences because there was communication and cooperation in advance.
QUESTION: But --
MS. PSAKI: But that’s – let me – I’m getting there.
QUESTION: Good. Please.
MS. PSAKI: There – but that is one of the reasons why we are continuing to convey – and as you know, the Vice President was just there – that China should not make any moves to implement the ADIZ – the ADIZ they announced last week or the week before because of that confusion that it causes.
PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei at press briefing in Beijing, Dec. 11, 2013
Q: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida reportedly said yesterday that Japan will not accept the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) established by China which constitutes a unilateral change to the status quo, nor will Japan recognize it as a prerequisite to dialogue. What is China's comment?
A: It is China's legitimate right to establish the East China Sea ADIZ which complies with the international laws and conventions. It is utterly unjustifiable for Japan to point the finger at China based on its erroneous position on the Diaoyu islands issue. The one who stirs up troubles and changes the status quo on the Diaoyu islands and in the East China Sea is no other than Japan. China will implement effective management over its East China Sea ADIZ in accordance with relevant international laws and common practices. Besides, we are ready to communicate with relevant countries on technical issues in the principle of equality and mutual respect so as to jointly maintain flight security and order in the relevant airspace. We urge the Japanese side to correct its attitude, stop pestering and provoking, and create conditions for the management of disputes through dialogue.
PRC Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei at press briefing in Beijing, Dec. 12, 2013
Q: The ROK side reportedly tells its airlines to ignore China's East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), but also says that they can file flight plans with China if they want to. What is China's comment?
A: China has repeatedly expounded on its position on the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. It is fully justifiable for China to do so. It complies with intentional laws and conventions and calls for respect and coordination from other countries. To report flight plans to China is not only conducive to territory and airspace security in China but also the flight security of relevant airlines and the flight order in the relevant airspace.
Mahtani and McLaughlin were on the ground in Hong Kong and provide this history of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement centered around a cast of core activists, culminating in the 2019 mass protests and Beijing's crackdown.
IOKIBE Kaoru (University of Tokyo) will focus on U.S.-Japan relations in historical and contemporary contexts.
Mahtani and McLaughlin were on the ground in Hong Kong and provide this history of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement centered around a cast of core activists, culminating in the 2019 mass protests and Beijing's crackdown.