Back Japan Against China's Hegemonism
By The New Indian Express | Published: 28th November 2013 06:00 AM |
The news of a welcome, if temporary, early-Sunday diplomatic breakthrough between the international community and Iran over its nuclear development efforts overshadowed an ominous announcement from China. Beijing last week declared an “air-defence identification zone” over a swathe of the East China Sea that is home to islands administered by Japan. The US and Japan have done well to challenge China’s claim to airspace over the disputed island chain.
With both sides sending warplanes and warships to the islands, a mistake, deliberate or otherwise, could trigger hostilities. The area also includes waters claimed by Taiwan and South Korea, which too have registered their displeasure at China’s move. Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop summoned Beijing’s ambassador to voice opposition. Bishop said: “Australia has made clear its opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea.” Germany’s government said the move “raised the risk of an armed incident between China and Japan”. On Tuesday, the Japanese government persuaded its leading airlines to stop acceding to Chinese demands. All Nippon Airways had said that since Sunday it has been submitting flight plans to Chinese authorities for planes due to pass through the area. Late on Tuesday, Japanese news agencies reported that both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines had reversed their decisions.
New Delhi should stoutly support the US and Japan and make it clear that China cannot unilaterally appropriate airspace rights over disputed territories with other countries. China has always browbeaten other countries into accepting its version of territorial disputes and India has been a victim of its expansionist designs. It is important that India supports those who stand up to Beijing’s wayward ways. It is incumbent on China to back off and rescind its order declaring an “air defence identification zone” over the islands to prevent a looming threat to international peace.