Why China’s ADIZ Has No Legal Significance

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There’s been an avalanche of news on the East China Sea over the past week. As I discussed in my previous post, China recently announced a new Air Defense Identification Zone (“ADIZ”), thereby requiring foreign aircraft flying over the Sea to provide navigation plans and means of identification to Chinese authorities, and to follow any instructions from the same. China’s armed forces “will adopt defensive emergency measures” against any aircraft that fails to cooperate. The reactions have been uniformly negative. Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States have all expressed opposition, while Japan, South Korea, and the United States each sent military aircraft into the ADIZ without notifying China or otherwise complying with the announced rules. Sensing that they had overreached, Chinese authorities subsequently exempted U.S. aircraft as long as they do not “go too far.” Japan, however, is still subject to the ADIZ. My last post explained that the legality of all of this hinges on whether China has title to the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands that are located within the ADIZ, and on how aggressively China chooses to enforce the measure. Continue reading “Why China’s ADIZ Has No Legal Significance”