Biden to Press China on Air Zone as Hagel Reassures Japan
Comment of the Day

November 27 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Biden to Press China on Air Zone as Hagel Reassures Japan

Here is the latest on this political tension, reported by Bloomberg:

Vice President Joe Biden will press Chinese leaders on their intentions in creating a new air-defense zone, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel assured Japan of U.S. support and continued military operations in the region.

Biden will use meetings with leaders in Beijing next week partly to express U.S. concern aboutChina's behavior toward its neighbors and seek an explanation of the air zone it claimed over disputed areas of the East China Sea, according to an administration official who briefed reporters today on condition of anonymity to discuss the vice president's plans.

China's establishment of an air zone that includes islands claimed by both Japan and China "is a potentially destabilizing unilateral action designed to change the status quo in the region, and raises the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculation," Hagel said in a call today to Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, according to an e-mailed statement by Pentagon spokesman Carl Woog.

The U.S. sent two unarmed B-52 bombers through the disputed zone this week without the advance notice that China has demanded and without incident. South Korea's military sent a plane through the area yesterday on a regular patrol flight, according to NHK, Japan's public broadcasting organization, which cited military sources it didn't name.

ANA Holdings Inc. (9202) and Japan Airlines Co., Japan's largest carriers, ran flights that landed today through the zone without advance notice, the companies said. Peach Aviation Ltd., a low-fare affiliate of ANA, also flew through the area without coordinating with the Chinese.

David Fuller's view

China's bullying manoeuvre is creating a Keynesian military stimulus in Asia but I do not think it has many allies in this adventure. Worse still for China, it will now have to endure Joe Biden's grins.

(See also Japanese Airlines Defy China Demand for Data in Air Zone, and also Tuesday's Comment)

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