December 4 2013
photo by Reuters/Toru Yamanaka
The ongoing row between China and Japan over a chain of islands in the East China Sea escalated sharply last week when Beijing declared an “air defense zone” over the disputed territory.
China demanded that all aircraft flying through the 600-miles-long zone to provide advance notice and warned that it would “identify, monitor, control, and react to” unidentified aircraft.
Three days later, the United States flew two B-52 bombers through the air defense zone uncontested. Japan followed up by sending F-15s and surveillance planes through the zone. Two Japanese commercial airlines have refused to comply, as well. South Korea and Taiwan also have flown aircraft through the zone.
If China's intention was to force Japan to the negotiating table over the island dispute, Beijing's plan appears to have backfired, says RAND's Scott Harold.