Transparency in Troubled Seas

China’s announcement of its first ADIZ was controversial for several reasons. First, China’s ADIZ includes multiple disputed territories—most prominently, the Senkaku Islands (Diaoyu in China), which are administered by Japan, but also Ieodo (Suyan) Rock, which South Korea claims too. This led the ROK to expand its own ADIZ. Second, China made its declaration without consulting other states in the region, which is not illegal but does break with custom. Third, China declared that it would require all aircraft, including military aircraft, to identify themselves to Beijing, regardless of whether or not they were bound for China as opposed to passing through the zone in transit elsewhere. This led the United States to fly two B-52 nuclear-capable bombers through the ADIZ in a demonstration of military noncompliance. ADIZs generally increase transparency and reduce the risk of accidents, and Beijing insists that this one is no different. But last November, US and other officials insisted that these three unique features made the East China Sea ADIZ fundamentally destabilizing.

So what of China’s ADIZ one year on?