China’s attacks on these countries are drawing the world over – and Beijing’s outrage and interference from other countries is growing.
Taiwan on Sunday accused China of sending 19 fighter jets, four strategic bombers and a surveillance plane to its air defense zone. Since 2013, it has launched more than 4,400 flights to test the defenses of its less compliant neighbors. Why?
International business analysts say they’ve discovered a trend.
It’s not just about training.
It’s not just about surveillance.
It’s not just about attrition.
It’s all of those things.
But it’s also about spreading the mood of Beijing. It is above all a question of driving a wedge between his opponents.
Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are all on the flight line.
“Often, Chinese forces violate ADIZs in several countries [Air Defence Identification Zones] on their flights, ”says a recent report. “While each country has so far dealt with the problem in its own way… the problem has become a regional problem which impacts all three countries. “
Message in a bomber
Last week, the small European nation of Lithuania went so far as to formalize its ties with Taiwan by announcing a new diplomatic office there.
Beijing was upset.
He recalled his ambassador to Lithuania. He told Lithuania to take his back.
The European Union responded by supporting Lithuania’s right to choose its friends and expressed sympathy for Taiwan’s plight.
Beijing was outraged.
“Some Europeans cannot tell right from wrong. It is because they put personal interest at the center of their concerns, ”accused the party controlled by the Communist Party. World time.
Then, like clockwork, Beijing sent an aggressive strike force into Taiwan’s guarded airspace on Sunday. Four H-6 strategic bombers were escorted by 10 J-16 fighters and four Su-30 fighters, as well as other support aircraft.
It was a clear escalation of his regular harassment of Taiwan’s borders.
But the non-partisan Federation of American Scientists (FAS) think tank thinks it’s become a well-established model. And that makes him dangerous.
Other intentions can be hidden in the habit.
Lines in the sky
An ADIZ is in fact just an international airspace. But it’s a holdover from the Cold War when military planes were identified and watched as they approach foreign shores.
It’s supposed to be a buffer zone.
Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a nation’s sovereignty extends 12 nautical miles (22 km) from its coastline. This applies to both the sea and the air.
An ADIZ is supposed to keep any potential threats at bay.
They are imperfect tools to begin with. Overlapping land claims can be confusing and conflicting.
But Beijing has perfected the art of taking advantage of this confusion.
It arbitrarily declared an ADIZ over the East China Sea in November 2013. Since then, it has made more than 4,400 flights beyond Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
It’s not just China claiming its rights to the East and South China Seas.
It’s not just China claiming ownership of the Senkaku Islands administered by Japan.
It is about stalling long-standing tensions between Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
Divided, Beijing knows, they will fall.
UNCLOS was established after decades of international debate. It aimed to eliminate the kind of dispute that helped ignite World War II.
But the rule set is open to some interpretation.
And that’s no use when two nations claim the same island anyway.
Beijing was heavily involved in the drafting of UNCLOS. He signed the treaty. It has since chosen to ignore its rules and processes.
Washington did not sign the treaty. But he chose to apply the rules, and encourage their application, where it suits him.
Japan and South Korea both claim ownership of islands located in the narrow waterway between them. Everyone applies their own ADIZ to this area.
Both Japan and Taiwan also claim ownership of islands between the two territories. Their individual ADIZ boundaries also overlap.
A long-standing but delicate status quo was upset in 2013 when China announced it would implement an ADIZ that covered the claims of the three nations.
But, according to the FAS report, it is smart to do so.
It sends fighter jets into South Korean airspace before passing through Japanese-controlled territory. It does the same across Taiwan.
This adds an element of tension: why didn’t you stop them before they got to us?
It also focuses attention on territories where neighbors disagree on who holds responsibility and ownership.
four-way dead end
“The most provocative theft to date remains the first and so far the only joint Sino-Russian incursion on July 23, 2019,” the FAS report read.
Chinese bombers crossed the narrow strait between Japan and South Korea. Russian bombers and surveillance planes joined them.
A Russian radar plane pierced the territorial airspace around Dokdo Island. The ROK sent 18 interceptors in response. After unsuccessful attempts to divert its route, some 80 cannon shells were fired into the air in front of the nose of the Russian plane.
Barely 30 minutes later, the plane returned. This time, the South Korean fighters had to fire 280 rounds to deflect it.
The result ?
Seoul and Tokyo are caught by the throat.
Instead of collectively pursuing the incident with China and Russia, South Korea and Japan have publicly expressed their anger at each other for jamming the jets in response, claiming the other lacked jurisdiction. to do so, even though the two have scrambled jets for similar forays that spanned the two ADIZs dozens of times before, “FAS notes.” The dispute over which country was entitled to respond has become another point of contention in the gradual worsening of relations. “
It was a textbook case of “gray zone” corner politics.
He’s the one they’ve tried to emulate ever since.
“China’s ADIZ intrusion strategy is to harness the friction between Japan and South Korea to decouple the support structure from its biggest adversaries – Japan itself, as well as the United States,” says FAS.
Taipei is convinced that Beijing has given up on the notion of peaceful reintegration. Taiwan has seen its violent crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. It no longer gives any credibility to the “One China, Two Systems” promise.
Meanwhile, Beijing has escalated international tensions around its island neighbor.
His Taiwan airspace poll last weekend was linked to the row over European relations. But he may also have tried to use it to drive a wedge between Washington and Taipei.
There was a unique, but significant, incident in the South China Sea as the aerial drama unfolded.
On the morning of Monday, September 6, Taiwanese air traffic controllers detected two Chinese Su-30 and two J-16 fighters approaching their airspace.
They expected a routine foray. So they started to monitor the activity of the plane.
Then a voice suddenly identified itself as representing the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. “It’s the Chinese Air Force. You are approaching the territorial airspace of China. Leave immediately, or you will be intercepted, ”the voice said.
Only a US Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was nearby. But it wasn’t particularly near China’s borders. Instead, it was in international airspace south of Taiwan.
China claims to control Taiwan’s airspace. Taipei does not agree.
Should Taiwan intervene? Should the United States expect this?
That was the purpose of the exercise. Find the stress points. Apply pressure.
The FAS warns that the worst is yet to come.
“The United States, in particular, should decide now whether it wants to take a more stand against Chinese airstrikes in… ADIZ, as China will eventually build up its capacity to regularly violate ADIZ around Guam and around Guam. Hawaii.
Jamie Seidel is a freelance writer | @JamieSeidel