China’s move to
establish an air
defense zone over a series of disputed islands in the East China Sea is
being viewed by experts as a bold power play by Beijing and a reminder that
China is quickly emerging as a military force in Southeast Asia.
The Chinese have
formally claimed the airspace above the Senkaku Islands, a territory that has
long been a source of dispute between China and Japan, although Tokyo has
served as the island’s administrator for years. Now, under international law,
any plane that wishes to fly over the islands must notify Chinese authorities
or China has the right to shoot it down.
“It was assertive, a
little but unnecessarily so, with China sticking its nose in everyone’s face,”
she said. “For China to unilaterally to declare at a sensitive time and as
tension has been escalating has been perceived to be unnecessarily bold.”
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