China may have found a wedge issue to divide the three main parts of the maritime alliance to its east. While the US, South Korea and Japan have thus far formed a common opposition to China’s newly released Air Defense Identification Zone, the Americans are seem to be offering a sort of concession, while the Koreans are prepared to challenge the Chinese in a way that would put them at odds with Japan. Breaking Defense lays it all out here:
All three democracies have now flown military aircraft through China’s new ADIZ without complying with Beijing’s demand to file flight plans in advance and to communicate via radio once in the zone. The issue between the allies is whether commercial flights should follow China’s unilaterally declared rules (reprinted here on the FAA website).
The governments of Japan and, more quietly, South Korea have gotten their national airlines not to. The US State Department, however, just quietly reiterated the longstanding US policy that airlines should comply with all countries’ flight rules — which presumably would include the new ones put out by China, although State didn’t say so outright.
Meanwhile, South Korea is contemplating expanding its own long-standing ADIZ to challenge China’s — but it might do so in a way that would cause conflict between Seoul and Tokyo as well. So while the US, Japan, and South Korea have presented a united front so far; they may not be able to keep it up as the stand-off drags on.
Note: this will be the last post of the week, as I will be traveling. Posting will resume on Monday, Dec. 9.