Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
You would never know it from watching the news on the tee-vee in the United States, but there is an international conflict that has been building for over a year in the Pacific between an increasingly aggressive China and its neighbors over who controls the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and the natural resources under the seas.
In November 2012, China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, a "first generation multi-purpose carrier-borne fighter jet" classified as the J-15, landed the first jet on the aircraft carrier. Since then, China's navy has been testing the territorial claims of its neighbors in Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and even Vietnam. These are the kinds of incidents that can easily escalate into a military confrontation where a "miscalculation" occurs.
This past weekend, China established an "air defense identification zone" in the East China Sea. On Tuesday, the U.S. Sent Two B-52 Bombers Into Air Zone Claimed by China (There was no immediate Chinese response to the flights conducted without prior notification as demanded under the new declaration from Beijing). On Thursday, Japan and South Korea defied Chinese air defence zone (again without prior notification as demanded under the new declaration from Beijing).
On Friday, things started getting hairier when China scrambled fighter jets in response. China sends jets as U.S., Japan fly in defense zone:
China said it launched two fighter planes Friday to investigate flights by a dozen U.S. and Japanese reconnaissance and military planes in its new maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea.
It was the first time since proclaiming the zone on Nov. 23 that China said it sent planes there on the same day as foreign military flights, although it said it merely identified the foreign planes and took no further action.
China announced last week that all aircraft entering the zone — a maritime area between China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan — must notify Chinese authorities beforehand and that it would take unspecified defensive measures against those that don’t comply. Neighboring countries and the U.S. have said they will not honor the new zone — believed aimed at claiming disputed territory — and have said it unnecessarily raises tensions.
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The United States and other countries have warned that the new zone could boost chances for miscalculations, accidents and conflicts, though analysts believe Beijing’s move is not intended to spark any aerial confrontations but rather is a long-term strategy to solidify claims to disputed territory by simply marking the area as its own.
June Teufel Dreyer, who specializes in security issues at the University of Miami, said the Chinese government — while backing down from strictly enforcing the zone to keep a lid on tensions — is walking a delicate line because it is faced with strong public opinion from nationalists at home. Sending up the fighter planes Friday was aimed at the domestic audience, and China is likely to send planes regularly when foreign aircraft enter the zone without notifying Chinese authorities, she said.
“They will be ‘escorting’ the intruding planes, but they are not going to shoot them,” she said.
The zone is seen primarily as China’s latest bid to bolster its claim over a string of uninhabited Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Beijing has been ratcheting up its sovereignty claims since Tokyo’s nationalization of the islands last year. However, there are questions whether China has the technical ability to fully enforce the zone due to a shortage of early warning radar aircraft and in-flight refueling capability.
The United States, Japan and South Korea all have said they sent military flights into the zone over the past week, and Japanese commercial flights have continued unhindered — although China has said its zone is not intended to have any effect on commercial flights not heading to China.
Dreyer said the U.S. and Japan have kept sending planes into the zone to make good on the message that they are ignoring it. “They have to do it more than once to show they are serious,” she said.
Dreyer said the Chinese government may have miscalculated the strength of the international response to the establishment of the zone, but that China will hold its line in the long run.
“The Chinese government is not going to concede the substance,” she said. “When circumstances are more conducive, they will try to enforce it more strictly in the future. This is a pattern we have noticed for decades.”
Remember when Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by the Soviet Union in 1983? That kind of thing could happen again.
Unless you watch the news from Japan on PBS, or the BBC, or read the major newspapers like the New York Times or Washington Post, you likely have not heard much about this conflict. American tee-vee news is pathetic and does not report foreign news, unless it is from the Middle East or is anglophile coverage of the British royal family (look how quickly the typhoon disaster in the Philippines disappeared from news coverage).
This is a dangerous game being played by the world's major powers in the Pacific. This is exactly how previous wars got started over territorial disputes, and someone with an itchy trigger finger "miscalculated" and fired the first shot. I fear that Americans could wake up one morning to a world war in the Pacific, and it will be the first time that many of these clueless bastards will learn that any of this was even going on.