ASPI suggests
29 Nov 2013|

A B-52 Stratofortress flies a routine mission Nov. 12 over the Pacific Ocean. Well, what a week.

On Saturday, China announced an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. The area overlaps Japanese and South Korean (and Taiwanese) claims—here’s a good graphic from the NYT.

The US was swift to condemn the move and support its ally Japan, in particular with the a strong statement from Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel, and flying B-52s through the zone soon after. Japan and South Korea soon followed suit. Hagel said:

The United States is deeply concerned by the People’s Republic of China announcement today that it is establishing an air defense identification zone in the East China Sea…

…We remain steadfast in our commitments to our allies and partners. The United States reaffirms its longstanding policy that Article V of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands.

The Chinese didn’t intercept any of the intruding aircraft, but has conducted its first patrol of the area with fighter aircraft.

On a related note, China continues to acquire military capability that will allow it to assert its claims in the waters of north Asia and the South China Sea. The range and capability of the Su-35 strike fighter will allow for extended Chinese air patrols over most of those areas disputed territories.

Australia’s response to China’s declaration has caused its own spat between Canberra and Beijing.

The Chinese delivered an angry rebuke over “irresponsible remarks” made by Ms Bishop regarding its the East China Sea defence zone, in the latest diplomatic headache for the Abbott government in Asia… The fall-out threatens to sour the mood for Ms Bishop’s imminent visit to China…

If that wasn’t enough, within 24 hours of the Chinese ADIZ declaration the P5+1 and Iran reached a preliminary deal to resolve tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program. The Economist writes:

For over three decades Iran and America have been blood enemies. Their hatred, like the hatred between the Palestinians and the Israelis, has framed the Middle East’s alliances and fuelled terror and war. The interim deal over Iran’s nuclear programme has not undone that—far from it. But through the keyhole it offers a tantalising glimpse of a different, better Middle East. It is a vision worth striving for.

Lastly, it looks like there’s been a breakthrough in Australia–Indonesia ties: cooperation with Australia will resume once President Yudhoyono’s six-step ‘road-map’ is met. The road map includes the formulation of protocols and a code of conduct for bilateral cooperation (see the President’s statement here in Indonesian).

Image courtesy of the United States Air Force.