Tensions Rise Over East China Sea

Chinese AWACSThe aggressive rhetoric continues to rise in the dispute over the island chain in the East China Sea as China has said it will issue warnings to any “foreign planes” that enter the air defense zone China declared in the region.

It’s the latest move by the Chinese to flex their military muscle over a disputed island chain that China, Japan and the Philippines have laid claim to. The warnings were announced just days after the Chinese declared that they would do regular patrols of the island chains with civilian surveillance ships.

Both Beijing and Tokyo claim the islets, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese. Many believe that a vast wealth of resources to include oil exist near the islets.

The top U.S. Navy commander in the region said he’s closely observed the back and forth between China and Japan, and he said Thursday that it has left him concerned.

“Well, I am concerned,” said Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, head of U.S. Pacific Command. “Any time you have two large powers, two large economic powers, two large military powers that have a disagreement that they’re not talking to each other about, that has no clear diplomatic end state in sight, that the cost calculation can grow, because you will have — in this case, you just have primarily maritime security forces that are in and around those contested islands.”
Locklear said he worried that young officers assigned by China and Japan to the area will be making decisions that could set off a more serious exchange. Raised tensions have created an atmosphere where even small errors could have serious diplomatic consequences, Locklear warned.
I many cases, those are young — you know, young naval officers or young civilian mariners who are out there, going to — making those decisions,” Locklear said. “So we have to continue to encourage restraint.  We have to continue to encourage professionalism.  And we have to continue to hope that there will be diplomatic dialogue and a solution to this, because it’s not productive for the region and it — it needs to be ultimately resolved.”
The declaration of the warnings to foreign planes also happens to come on the same day the Chinese military formally acknowledge their early warning aircraft squadron. A state media website acknowledged that many have seen the AWACS aircraft flying near the disputed region.
When the Chinese first stood up the air defense zone, the U.S. responded by flying a B-52 directly through it without warning the Chinese. On Thursday, Locklear tried to describe his and PaCom’s response to China’s suprise announcement of the zone.
“I don’t think we were necessarily surprised by the ADIZ issue. I think that’s a mischaracterization,” Locklear said. “I think we were a little bit surprised by the way it was announced and the manner it was — you know, how fast it was sprung on — sprung on the region and the fact that it was an ADIZ that just kind of was directed at one central issue, not just the general defense of someone’s territorial air space.”

About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.

    As I said China can smell the West weakening, they are determined to stake a claim to the Islands for the natural resources—CHINA rapidly raising look out!!!

    • RRGED

      I meant RISING

    • Ben

      Too much Fox News.

      • sweet_potatoe

        Sadly, it’s not, the mood in the Asia pacific towards China is pretty dim.

  • Dfens

    I guess we know what they plan on doing with at lest a couple of those aircraft carriers.

  • sweet_potatoe

    Correction, Philippines has no claims in East China sea, just in South China sea

  • whocares

    China is well into a vast military expansion and is determined to kick the US out of the western Pacific. Her actions to date make that crystal clear. Its plans to build numerous big deck carriers shows all the capability to be a global marine powerhouse. In time Chinese carrier battle groups will deploy to Hawaiian waters for drills, then to our West coast.
    The US is in steep naval decline and in about 10 years will be out gunned at sea. China is our banker and holds significant debt so she will be able to dictate to the US economically and militarily in the near future.

  • Lance

    Proof to tell Oridnaro and the Army to shut up and make do get the new budget to the Navy who been neglected mostly for over a decade. Only way to tech these Chi Coms is to show strength and force. Obama is NOT doing this this is why there embolden to to push ahead in aggression. We need more carriers and Virginia class subs.

  • sam

    Obama will back down. It’s in his nature.

  • Intercepted radio transmission:

    “You in People’s Republic of China Air Defense Zone. You no fly here. Go away.”

    • Benjamin

      Unfortunately, it will probably become the norm in that area of the world unless we show a backbone.

      • Ben

        It’s not our job as a country to be someone else’s backbone.

    • Guest

      “U no mess with Lo Wang!”

    • Guest

      “Good One” Major Rod but you are not quite ready for prime time. I suggest you harken back to March 31, 2001 when the People’s Liberation Navy forced down the US Navy EP-3 Spy Plane, off Hainan Island in the South China Sea.

      After which Sec of Def Colin Powell could be heard mumbling , “We are very, very Sorry” to the Chinese Government. You forgot already Major Rod?

      An Old Chinese Proverb for you Major Rod – “He who is drowned is not troubled by the rain”.

      • Oh you mean when the Chinese fighter crashed and burned in the sea?

        I think the score is 0-1…

        • Guest

          Yes Major Rod, the Chinese lost one fighter jet and the US Government lost “Face”. Just as Colin Powell repeated over and over, “We are very, very Sorry”.

          An old Chinese Proverb for you Major. – “Once bitten by a Snake, he is scared all his Life at the mere sight of a Rope”.

  • Captain Obvious


  • steve

    it looks like war to me. lets get it on.

  • Richard Papp

    The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.
    If that doesn’t work then you must grab him by the balls,
    then his mind and heart will follow.

  • 009


  • 010


  • Pale Horse

    Indian Officials, in regards to their Cooperation with the US on China says the US sees little good etc from confrontation with China. So Washington isn’t going to do anything (a) we are too weak to make the Chinese back down. (b) those Global Corporations making the fortune on Cheap Chines manufactured junk predation, of our economic security, don’t give a hoot about a USA and would indeed like to see it only as a ruling body over US Citizens, and don’t want to upset the Chinese. What must be done is to encourage manufacturing or creation of wealth in the US and discourage the predation, by Globalist Bodies and Billionaires ,China and others on our economy, jobs, retirements, freedoms, and future. We have 37%+ unemployment, People working full time on food stamps and no hope of a retirement, a weak dollar and are becoming another Venezuela. Only wealth and the things it buys, such as the strongest military, freedoms, and prosperous
    Citizens can make us and our interest first. Start taxing and tariffs on predatory imports and stop one dollar one vote by Global Corporations.

  • Steven

    lets be honest , strong or weak , we are not going to do anything but try and talk it out , the U.S is tired of war
    if the Chinese act now we will simply stand by and let them
    and if war breaks out , we will stay our hand for as long as possible to allow ourselves to recuperate

    I know it SOUNDS like it’s WWII all over again but there really isn’t anything we can do about it at this time

  • Outstanding post however , I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Many thanks!