On November 20, 2013 China announced an “East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)” that includes the air space over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. The impression given by the press and political leaders, especially those of the U.S. and Japan, is that ADIZ is a new concept that China has introduced, that China has no right to establish this ADIZ, that China has done something evil, that there are good reasons for the U.S. and Japan to complain strongly, and that China has unnecessarily introduced instability into that region. However, when we study this issue further, the truth is far from the above impression.
To have a better understanding of this issue, let’s ask and answer several questions.
- Is ADIZ something new that was introduced by China on November 20, 2013? No, ADIZ was first introduced by the U.S. in 1950.  This ADIZ of the U.S. defines an airspace of the U.S. that the control of aircraft is required for reasons of national security. The ADIZ forms a transition zone in which aircraft come under positive identification and control by air traffic and defense authorities. The U.S. also defined ADIZs for Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan in the 1950s. At first, the ADIZ for Japan and Taiwan did not overlap. But in 2010, Japan unilaterally extended the Eastern boundary of its ADIZ so that their new ADIZ overlaps with Taiwan’s ADIZ, upsetting Taiwan.  Many other countries have also established ADIZs. 
- Does China have the right to establish this ADIZ? Yes, if other countries can establish ADIZs, why can’t China? As long as the airspace is over Chinese territory, China has the right to establish this ADIZ. It is true that part of the territory is in dispute with Japan, but that didn’t stop Japan from establishing an ADIZ over this disputed territory. We will discuss further this dispute later in this article.
- Did China do something evil by establishing an ADIZ? No, China is doing what other countries have been doing for years and decades. Isn’t it evil for China to claim an ADIZ that overlaps with Japan’s? No, not any more than Japan claiming an ADIZ that overlaps with China’s. Furthermore, as mentioned in Item #1, in 2010 Japan unilaterally extended the Eastern boundary of its ADIZ so that it overlaps with Taiwan’s ADIZ, thus generating objections from Taiwan. Why didn’t the U.S. and other Western countries protest that action of Japan?
- Are there good reasons for the U.S. and Japan to complain loudly about China’s new ADIZ? No, not if the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands may belong to China so that China has a legitimate right to claim this ADIZ. Japan claims that there is no territorial dispute with China at all over these islands. The U.S. claims that the sovereignty of these islands is in dispute, although Japan has administrative control of these islands. China claims that these islands have belonged to the Taiwan Province of China for several centuries, and should have been returned to China after the end of WWII as stipulated by the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the Potsdam Declaration of 1945, and the 1945 Japanese Instrument of Surrender. As a matter of fact, most unbiased history scholars, including Japanese history scholars, who have studied this issue conclude that the evidence is pretty conclusive that these islands belong to China and that Japan tried to secretly steal these islands from China in 1895.  The U.S. may appear to be unbiased and adopting a neutral and fair position on these islands, but in fact, the U.S. has been in collusion with Japan for over 60 years ever since the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese Civil War and the People’s Republic of China was established in 1949. More explanation of these statements can be found in Reference .
- Did China unnecessarily introduce instability into the East Asia region with this ADIZ? No, China’s action is in response to the instability introduced by Japan when in September 2012, Japan nationalized these islands by purchasing some of these islands from private Japanese “owners.” It was that action that brought back to life this territorial dispute that had been dormant for over 30 years. If the U.S. is so unbiased, neutral, and fair, why didn’t the U.S. voice strong opposition to that action by Japan? Please also keep in mind that Japan still has not acknowledged and apologized for the massive and inhumane atrocities that she committed all over Asia during WWII, and that her leaders, including prime ministers, have frequently visited and paid tribute at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo where 14 convicted and executed Class A Japanese war criminals are enshrined. This is analogous to German chancellors paying tribute at a memorial site for Adolf Hitler. Why doesn’t the U.S. press Japan to acknowledge and apologize for these war crimes so that the world can reach closure on this and move on to a better world? Where is the U.S.’s humanitarian principle that she frequently uses to justify its various international actions?
What can we learn from China’s new ADIZ? Once again, what we learn is not China’s aggression, but we learn again about Japan’s new aggression, even though she still has not acknowledged and apologized for its war crimes of WWII, and about the U.S.’s complicity to use Japan as her main prawn to surround, contain, and weaken China. What kind of logic does the U.S. use to claim that the sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands is not settled, but these islands are included in the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty? We hear complains from U.S. leaders that China is building up its navy so that the U.S. dominance on the sea in Asia may be challenged. What kind of double standards to claim that the U.S. has the right to dominate the sea 7,000 miles from the U.S., and China should not have the right to build a stronger navy to patrol the sea only dozens or hundreds of miles from China’s coast? Shouldn’t we be actively seeking ways to work with China in a way that is beneficial to the U.S., China, and world peace?
 See, e.g., “Air Defense Identifcation Zone (North America)”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Defense_Identification_Zone_%28North_America%29
 See, e.g., “Air Defense Identification Zone”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Defense_Identification_Zone
 For more discussion of the arguments of China, Japan, and U.S. on the ownership of these islands, see, e.g., “Inconsistent Foreign Policy May Drag U.S. Into Another War”: http://www.dontow.com/2012/09/inconsistent-foreign-policy-may-drag-u-s-into-another-war/