US Tells Airlines to Obey New China Rules: Propaganda Win For Beijing?
reports that “administration officials said they had made the decision to urge civilian planes to adhere to Beijing’s new rules in part because they worried about an unintended confrontation.” And the WSJ continues: “But administration officials said that any compliance by carriers had no bearing on the U.S. position that the Chinese defense zone is illegitimate and wouldn’t affect military flights being made into the zone without notice to China.”Japan and South Korean civilian airlines will not be complying with China’s rules. Does the US decision now pressure Japan to also give in? And can China claim a propaganda win?As Robert Kelly, a professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, wrote in a good post on his blog, one of the likelier of a number of possible reasons for China’s ADIZ declaration is to shore up the Communist Party’s nationalist credentials at home. “The CCP may not want a conflict with Japan,” he writes, “but it’s been telling Chinese youth for 20+ years that Japan is greatly responsible for the ‘100 years of humiliation.’ So now the CCP is stuck; they have to be tough on Japan—even if they don’t want to be—because their citizens demand it. The CCP has created an anti-Japanese frankenstein at home that has to be placated. They have to ride the anti-Japanese tiger their education/propaganda has created, or risk a domestic backlash.”So far it doesn’t appear that Beijing is taking advantage of Washington’s recommendation that civilian airlines obey the new rules. A foreign ministry spokesman said the ADIZ was not intended to target “normal” flights. But the authorities in Beijing, publicly or not, are likely to count Washington’s decision as a small sign of success. They are determined to keep the new ADIZ in place, and as foreign military forces show no sign of backing down on their own normal operations in the area, the chances of international incident are dangerously high. No doubt Vice President Biden and his counterparts in China will have much discuss on his upcoming visit.