Xi Jinping Overreaches in the East China Sea
Comment of the Day

November 29 2013

Commentary by David Fuller

Xi Jinping Overreaches in the East China Sea

Here is the opening from another interesting column from Bloomberg:

The Communist Party summit that recast Xi Jinping as a reformer extraordinaire has produced its first foreign-policy initiative: poking Japan in the eye.

That seems to be the point of China's declaration of a vast "air defense identification zone," in which Beijing has essentially claimed the airspace around disputed islands administered by Japan. The provocation came just two weeks after the party called for a new national security council to coordinate military, domestic and intelligence operations in China. Political analysts who worried that the body might herald a deepening Asian Cold War weren't being entirely paranoid.

There's nothing particularly shocking about establishing such a council, state-run media says. The U.S. and Russia both have one, after all, and even Japan is talking about creating its own. Besides, as the Xinhua News Agency was kind enough to inform readers in a Nov. 22 explainer piece, "China is a stabilizer for world peace and security, and the new commission is like a performance guarantee for the stabilizer and will in turn bring benefits to the whole world."

Tell that to Itsunori Onodera, Japan's minister of defense, who's working frantically to decode what China means when it warns that its military may take "defensive emergency measures" if planes don't identify themselves in the new air defense zone. Or Onodera's South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan Jin: Some of China's zone overlaps with waters off Jeju Island. Or Chuck Hagel, the U.S. defense chief, who got dragged into the controversy and responded, boldly, by flying two unarmed B-52 bombers into the area as a warning to Beijing to back off. When he visits Japan, China and Korea next week, U.S. Vice President Joe Bidencan expect some pretty testy exchanges.

David Fuller's view

We can hope that China's action is just a justification for another Keynesian stimulus but it is certainly not without risks. Interestingly, this is not reflected by stock markets in Japan and China, which are coming into form.

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