US Vice President Joe Biden, who is touring Asia, visited Japan and arrived in China. The recent introduction of the People’s Republic of China unilaterally to the air defense identification zone in the East China Sea has led to a storm of protests from the United States, Japan and South Korea. Washington, Tokyo, and Seoul unanimously declared that they did not recognize the Chinese decision, moreover, the Japanese and Korean authorities forbade their airlines to transfer the relevant information to Beijing. In addition, all participants in the conflict conducted raids of their air forces over the disputed territories. In the conditions of a sharp aggravation of the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Washington confirmed its determination not to retreat from its allied commitments to Tokyo and extend them to the Senkaku Islands. However, this did not bother Beijing, which is not going to retreat. The Chinese authorities have expressed their readiness to create new air defense zones. In particular, such a zone can be created in the South China Sea region.
This situation makes other countries recall their claims and ambitions, as well as pay more attention to strengthening the armed forces. China is gradually moving to a new foreign policy strategy. First, Beijing feels its strength: only new warships in recent years have been launched in dozens. Secondly, this is forced by the weakening of the United States. The American superpower is in crisis, which leads to the activation of players claiming a global or regional role. Third, in China itself, negative trends associated with systemic defects of its economy are ripening. The party nomenclature is reborn into the bourgeoisie. The national bourgeoisie, the middle class are switching to the ideology of nationalism. In addition, an aggressive foreign policy can relieve internal social tension. Apparently, East Asia will be the first serious test of Beijing’s strategy. China will try to break through the "first line of defense" of the United States, which Washington is building from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. In principle, it is beneficial to Russia. The expansion of China is directed to the east and south-east.
What is all the fuss about?
The dispute broke out around the statement of the PRC from 23 in November 2013, when Beijing informed everyone that in the East China Sea it was unilaterally creating an air defense recognition zone (Casus belli. China shows who is the boss in the East China Sea). The air defense zone is adjacent to the airspace of China and is designed to more effectively cover the air borders of the People's Republic of China. The Chinese authorities demanded that all states' planes notify them before entering the air defense zone. Otherwise, the Chinese military promised to take tough measures against violators.
In principle, the practice of introducing similar zones is quite common. They exist in the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries. However, the problem is that the recognition zone of the PRC air defense has affected the disputed territories - Senkaku Islands (Dayayuyao) and the Iodo rock. It should be noted that all parties believe that there are no disputed territories: the Japanese consider their islands theirs, like the Chinese. To a certain extent, the Chinese zone is an attempt to stake out the disputed territories. The fury of the Japanese is understandable. They are the actual owners of Senkaku. The reaction of Moscow would be similar if the Japanese dared to establish their air defense zone over the Kuriles.
Therefore, the unilateral actions of China caused a great sensation. Among the main discontented were the United States, Japan and South Korea. Other interested parties, Taiwan and the DPRK, expressed their position. Tokyo and Washington immediately declared their non-recognition of the Chinese zone. The head of the Japanese government, Shinzo Abe, declared Japan’s intention “to defend its territorial waters and airspace with all determination”, and China’s actions were called “totally unacceptable”. However, Washington surprised its Japanese ally with inconsistency, recommending airlines to follow Beijing’s requirements.
The White House, the Pentagon spoke in a rather harsh tone about the Chinese air defense zone. US bombers B-52 without warning entered the Chinese air defense identification zone. Then began the demonstration of air and sea power. Ignored the new zone of air defense of China, the Air Force of Japan and South Korea. Their planes flew over the territory of the Chinese air defense zone without warning and without meeting resistance. China responded by sending fighters to patrol a new air defense identification zone over the disputed Senkaku Islands. At this time, several Japanese and American aircraft were in the air in the same area. Then the Japanese and US Navy conducted exercises in the East China Sea, more than 7 thousand people participated in them. The maneuvers were held close to the air defense zone declared by the PRC. Another region where the great powers decided to beat one another's nerves was the South China Sea. The 4 aircraft carrier with escort ships was sent immediately to the exercises. In the South China Sea are the disputed Spratly Islands, claimed by several countries. In the region there were two US carrier-strike groups with the aircraft carriers Nimitz and George Washington. Japan sent its newest helicopter carrier (in fact, a light aircraft carrier) Ise to the South China Sea. China sent its only aircraft carrier Liaoning to the South China Sea. December 2 The United States transferred two coastal patrol aircraft P-8A Poseidon to Japan. They must search for submarines and conduct reconnaissance near the Chinese territorial waters, including ZI air defense.
Suddenly, a sharp conflict broke out over the air defense zone between China and South Korea. The south did not like the fact that the Chinese included in their zone a part of the similar South Korean air defense recognition zone and the space above the Iodo submarine rock. This rock is the subject of a territorial dispute between Seoul and Beijing. Opposed the PRC and Taiwan. Taipei has its own views of the archipelago belonging to Japan, they also consider it Chinese. But, although relations between mainland and island China have recently become somewhat better, the air defense identification zone declared by the PRC has put an end to this trend. In Taipei, they declared “Beijing’s irrepressible appetites” and that the communist regime cannot be trusted. Taiwan urged to reverse this decision. Other countries in the region, fearing the growth of Chinese influence, also criticized Beijing’s decision. Only North Korea reported that it "supports the position of China." Russia did not respond to all this. This is understandable, the East China Sea is quite far from our borders. We have no reason to support either Japan or China.
It should be noted a very indicative reaction of Chinese public opinion. The Chinese, through social networks and forums, welcomed the establishment of a ZI air defense system and offered to shoot down violators. Like, Americans would do the same. This is an obvious fact of the growth of nationalist sentiments in the PRC.
Korean Tiger Reaction
South Korea was in a rather difficult position. It is actually sandwiched between two powerful opponents: the American-Japanese alliance, on the one hand, and huge China, on the other. The United States is an official ally, American troops are in South Korea, being a deterrent (and at the same time provocative) factor for the DPRK. The United States is the main supplier of the latest weapons and military technology. However, China is the main trading partner and immediate neighbor. Seoul also takes into account the influence of Beijing on Pyongyang, which is extremely important for the future unification of the Korean Peninsula. As a result, Seoul is not so easy to decide who is more important.
At first, Seoul wanted to resolve the issue with the Chinese air defense zone amicably. China and South Korea have no irreconcilable contradictions, as the Chinese have with the Japanese. Beijing also showed a softer approach. Earlier, China did not aggravate the conflict over the Iodo rock, amid a sharp exacerbation with Japan. Beijing expressed the hope that the problem will be resolved through negotiations and "based on the principles of mutual respect." In Seoul, supported this idea. Consultations began on the section where the Chinese and South Korean air defense zones overlap each other on the problem of Iodo underwater rock. However, the negotiations failed miserably. At the level of representatives of the military departments, the Celestial Empire said a clear “no” to all the proposals of the South. The Chinese refused to change the boundaries of their zone in both cases.
It was a cold shower for Seoul. Beijing began to "show teeth", showing who the future owner in the region is. Seoul responded by instructing its civilian airlines not to inform the Chinese authorities in the event of a flight over the zone. Korean aircraft are very active in the area - up to 310 flights per day. Appeared newsthat South Korea is ready to respond by expanding its air defense identification zone, with the inclusion of the Iodo area and other remote areas in the south. As a result, the air defense zones of South Korea, Japan and China will cross. Over Iodo may encounter the Air Force of all three powers.
At the same time, news of a serious increase in the South Korean air force and navy came down. Due to financial problems, South Korea has recently somewhat reduced the pace of modernization of the armed forces, but the worsening situation in the East China Sea has forced Seoul to implement rearmament programs in full. So, even before the dispute over the air defense zone began, Seoul decided to buy 40 X-NUMX generation F-5A fighter-bombers from the US. The South Korean tender has already been going on for quite a long time, Seoul still doubted which planes to buy. Now the choice is made. Almost simultaneously, it was announced about the resuscitation of the project to create their own Korean invisible fighter. The program starts at the beginning of 35. On November 2014, there was news that the South Korean Defense Ministry had ordered the development of a modernization of the KF-27 fighter jets. Aircraft should receive a Raytheon RACR active phased-array radar, an AN / ALR-16A self-defense system and new weapon systems. It is also possible to extend the life of gliders and engines of South Korean fighters. The start of the upgrade is scheduled for 69 year. South is planning to upgrade the 2014 aircraft. 134 November, there was news about the purchase of 28 tanker aircraft in 2014 year. "Flying tankers" should significantly increase the range of the South Korean air force fighters. According to the military, the acquisition of four tanker aircraft will allow the Air Force to increase the time that fighters may be in the air for about an hour. This will enhance the defense capabilities of remote areas - Tokdo (Takeshima) in the east and the space above the Iodo submarine rock in the southwest. In addition, the United States offered Korea 4 used CH-14D Chinook helicopters, which are based on the territory of this East Asian state.
1 December, there was news that a decision was made about three more new destroyers with the combat information control system (BIUS) "Aegis". Thus, in the South Korean Navy there will already be 6 destroyers of the KDX-3 project. Earlier, construction of new destroyers was planned to be postponed, but now they have changed their mind - due to the growing threat at sea. Earlier, in October, there was news that Seoul is considering a project to create two carrier groups in the Navy, their basis will be two light aircraft carriers. Thus, it is obvious that Seoul sees in perspective the threat of a serious conflict in the APR and is seriously preparing for it.
China is not going to concede
Beijing has a dual policy. On the one hand, the Chinese emphasize that they are not going to fight. They say that everyone is so alarmed, similar powers have all the powers that criticize China. Scream and calm down. You can always agree. Therefore, Beijing did not make sudden movements when American and Japanese military aircraft flew through its air defense zone. However, China marked the hardness of its position the next day, sending its fighters to fly around the disputed area. Beijing showed the firmness of its position in negotiations with Seoul. He showed that there is no reverse.
The Celestial Empire is not going to right now arrange a slaughter in the “never a step back” style for a piece of land in the ocean. But China does not win back. Now China can not particularly zealous in terms of the implementation of formidable statements. But with the accumulation of forces and changes in the geopolitical situation (who knows what will happen to the United States in two or three years), the Celestial Empire will surely remind its neighbors that it “warned everyone”. Beijing announced that it would establish similar air defense zones in other regions - over the Yellow and South China Seas. The interests of South Korea and the United States will be affected in the Yellow Sea, where the Americans and South Koreans are conducting their own maneuvers. In the South China Sea, the situation is even more complicated - this is a territorial dispute over the Spratly Islands, in which China, Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines and other countries are involved.
The dispute over the air defense zone is China’s second serious step in changing the overall military-political strategy. The first step was the aggravation of the territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands. Now China is not afraid to show its strength, actively project and defend its national interests, not paying attention to irritating its neighbors. The air defense zone is a test strike on the "first line of defense" of the United States. The PRC plans to loosen and break through the American line of defense, breaking free into the World Ocean. The period of "quiet accumulation of power" (Deng Xiaoping's strategy) is over, now Beijing will be more assertive and more active. As the global crisis and crisis tendencies inside the PRC intensify, this foreign policy activity will increase.
"Yellow Menace" and the visit of Joe Biden
A certain part of the American elite considers China the main threat to the United States. Thus, Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, speaking at a meeting of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia and Emerging Threats of the International Committee of the US House of Representatives, said: “We are in a state of cold war with China!” The meeting was devoted to the topic “Marine and other geographical threats of China” . In fact, the entire meeting of the subcommittee came down to “exposing the cunning Beijing.” Rohrabacher attributed China to the global threat due to his desire to dominate the APR. He estimated the territorial claims of Beijing in the East China and South China Seas as “unfounded”, “doubtful” and “expansive”. Committee member Alain Lowenthal, summing up the meeting, made another loud statement: “We need to be more concerned about China, otherwise ... the new Pearl Harbor could take the United States by surprise.”
The conflict situation became the main topic during the Asia tour of US Vice President Joe Biden. At the American embassy in Tokyo, where the leaders of the ruling coalition and the Japanese opposition arrived at the meeting with the American envoy, Biden tried to reassure the allies. He said that the US does not recognize an attempt to change the status quo in the region, and Washington will act in concert with Tokyo on this issue. He also promised the Japanese to convey the common position of Washington and Tokyo to the highest leadership of the Middle Kingdom. From Tokyo on Wednesday, an American politician went to Beijing. Then the American politician plans to visit Seoul.
In Beijing, Biden met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and held a meeting at the American Embassy with young Chinese who are awaiting American student visas. Biden, as expected, did not say anything new, stating the need to expand cooperation between the two states. No one expects a special breakthrough from the trip of the American Vice President to Beijing. The Americans are being asked to stop turning a blind eye to the dangerous confrontational policies pursued by Japan. The US should stop encouraging Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s aggressive behavior, “crossing all the limits of provocations and unjustified claims,” the Chinese daily warns China Daily. In general, this visit can be regarded as "intelligence", probing the position of the opponent.