China Rattling Cages Again In Asia

China is continuing to feel its oats by repeatedly provoking its neighbors. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for enhancing the strategic reserve forces as a way to strengthen the nation’s war capabilities. His comments come as China is dealing with the fallout from its declaration of a vast “air defense identification zone.”

The air zone would encompass the area around disputed islands administered by Japan and is another sign of the mixed signals sent by China.

“China’s move belies all the talk of its peaceful, magnanimous rise as a world power. A tiny accident or miscalculation in the skies above the disputed islands — called the Senkakus by Japan and Diaoyu by China and Taiwan, which separately claim them — could easily spiral out of control, dragging Washington into a clash that would shake the global economy. Instead of being a stabilizer, China is proving to be a provocateur,” reports Bloomberg News.

BBC News is reporting that China has claimed on Friday that it followed US and Japanese planes within the new air zone.

Jeffrey W. Hornung, associate professor at the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, believes China’s establishment of the air zone will only increase already tense relations.

“At a time when tensions in the region are already high due to a lingering territorial dispute between China and Japan, China’s action has escalated tensions in the East China Sea. Now, with Beijing apparently demonstrating a fundamental misunderstanding of diplomacy with its neighbors, the region is forced to confront provocative and potentially destabilizing behavior,” Hornung writes.

A primer by the Asia team at the Center for Strategic and International Studies provides background on the new defense zone and what it means for the region.

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