China’s Air Force says it detected and identified US and Japanese planes entering the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone on Friday. The Air Force responded by scrambling fighter jets to monitor the aircraft. Also, in a slight change from its initial response, the Obama administration has advised the country’s civilian carriers to comply with the rules of the new air defense identification zone.
Chinese fighter jets scrambled from their bases. Friday saw similar action as Chinese jets flew into the Air Defense Identification zone to monitor activity by Japanese and US planes.
Two US spy planes and ten Japanese flights entered the newly established Zone. China’s Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke said, that Chinese fighter jets were scrambled to verify these foreign aircrafts and monitored them throughout their path in the air zone. Shen also informed that the Chinese Air Force is maintaining a status of "high alert", and will take measures to deal with any threat to China’s airspace.
Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Ministry also said on Friday that Japan’s objection and concern to China’s ADIZ is senseless, and is only to stir up trouble.
"We have repeatedly made our position clear on the issue of the East China Sea air defense identification zone. We would like to ask Japan to explain to other countries whether it has an ADIZ or not. When Japan first set up its ADIZ and later on expanded its ADIZ several times, it never consulted with other countries. And look at the size of Japan’s ADIZ. Japan doesn’t want to allow others to do what itself has been doing." said Qin Gang, Spokesman, Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Responding to Friday’s incident, Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Saturday that Tokyo has made no changes in the nation’s sense of alertness.
"In any event, including what happened yesterday in regard to the regulations for the air defence identification zone we have no reason to believe that there has been any great change to procedures as they have stood until now." said Itsunori Onodera, Japan Defense Minister.
Meanwhile, Washington has suggested US commercial flights follow the rules of China’s air defense identification zone. The US State Department said on its website that "The US government generally expects carriers operate consistent with foreign country’s air notice requirements." But it also said the advice does not indicate the US government’s acceptance of the new air zone.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is visiting China, Japan and South Korea next week, and the issue of the new air defense identification zone is expected to feature prominently during the visit.
China announced its Air Defense Identification Zone last week.