China’s declaration of the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) towards the end of 2013 in the East Chinese Sea and the response by actors present in the region has major ramifications for the contemporary world, and the study of International Relations. The ADIZ draws attention to the conflicting claims of states in the East Chinese Sea, and invokes questions regarding airspace sovereignty. As a result, the multilateral relations among states effected by this event have become more complicated and in some cases strained. The U.S.’s long term security and economic interest forces U.S. policy makers into an uneasy balance. Regardless of the official justifications for the actions of the states involved, the actions taken reflect rational consistent with the International Relations Theory of Realism. Although none of the states involved desire the escalation of tensions, there is the very real possibility of a disastrous armed conflict for the entire region. The implications of the ADIZ demonstrates principles of Realism as an International Relations Theory, and foreshadows the difficult balance world leader most maintain to ensure peace in the Western Pacific.
An important notion in order to understand the nature of the tension over the conflicting airspace caused by the ADIZ is the concept of airspace sovereignty. On November, 23 2013 China declares the ADIZ, which requires “all non-commercial aircraft entering a broad zone over the East Chinese Sea must first identify themselves to Beijing at the risk of facing defensive emergency measures by the PLAAF…implying…aircraft…would need to submit their flight plans to China and if granted permission would still need to maintain radio communication with Chinese a...
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