China Announces ADIZ over disputed islands.

 

China’s Ministry of National Defense issued an announcement of the aircraft identification rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People’s Republic of China.p Following is the full text:

Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People’s Republic of China

Issued by the Ministry of National Defense on November 23

The Ministry of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China, in accordance with the Statement by the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Establishing the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, now announces the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone as follows:

First, aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone must abide by these rules.

Second, aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone must provide the following means of identification:

1. Flight plan identification. Aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone should report the flight plans to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China or the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

2. Radio identification. Aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone must maintain the two-way radio communications, and respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries from the administrative organ of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone or the unit authorized by the organ.

3. Transponder identification. Aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, if equipped with the secondary radar transponder, should keep the transponder working throughout the entire course.

4. Logo identification. Aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone must clearly mark their nationalities and the logo of their registration identification in accordance with related international treaties.

The US establishment of an air defense system over the nation and Canada in the Cold War coincided with both the potential threat of a Soviet bomber attack, and the increase in commercial trans-oceanic flights. To give interceptors time and space to scramble to meet any potential threat, all flights that would enter US or Canadian airspace were required to identify themselves clearly, by filing a flight plan, operating a transponder, and establishing two-way radio communications with air traffic control. Any aircraft not meeting these requirements would potentially find itself intercepted by Air Defense Command, and identified, escorted, or even forced to land.   This zone was known as an Air Defense Identification Zone or ADIZ. Theoretically, failure to comply with ADC could even result in being shot down. The US wasn’t big on shooting down airliners, but as Korean Air 007 showed,violating  the Soviet equivalent of an ADIZ  could be deadly.

No one is really challenging the right of China to have an ADIZ over its territory. The establishment of an ADIZ over disputed international waters, however, is an extreme provocation. Almost certainly, every commercial carrier that transits the area will comply.  Failure to do so would cause virtually every insurer to cancel coverage.

But to simply accede to this pronouncement would be a de facto admission by other governments that China’s assertion of an ADIZ is legitimate. Japan especially, and perhaps other governments, will likely challenge the validity of the ADIZ. And they’ll do so with military aircraft.

This is an escalation that will lead to one side or the other losing face, or one side or the other losing airplanes. And probably lives.