I believe leaders in China and Japan are under pressure, trying to appease to nationalistic sentiment in their countries, but I do hope and believe that both have the wisdom to find a compromise, so as to ensure a win-win situation for both.
The U.S. has a role to play here, given that Vice President Biden is going to China, Japan and South Korea next week. But the U.S. should not just try to reassure its allies, maybe more importantly it should win the trust of China if it wants to be a credible broker. You are not qualified to be a judge of a soccer match if one team happens to be made up of your brothers and cousins. The only way to do that is if you are ready to be stricter with that team, and willing to show more yellow or red cards to your own brothers and cousins at times such as when the Japanese government nationalized the islands a year ago.
The U.S. flying B-52 bombers there, if deliberate, only encourages more nationalistic sentiment in China and adds more pressure on the leaders.
James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic:
Chen Weihua is certainly right to point out that ADIZs have a long history around the world. Also he is right that, that as their name (Air Defense Identification Zone) implies, their purpose is to require aircraft to identify themselves—as opposed to being excluded from an airspace or shot down. But it’s worth noting that most U.S. coverage has made both these points. Indeed, in an earlier post I did at The Atlantic, I put up a map of the many ADIZ areas that surround the United States, and also explained the difference between an ADIZ and a “no-fly zone.”
There are two aspects of the situation that I think deserve more attention on the Chinese side. One is that establishment of this new ADIZ is clearly a change in the status quo. You can argue, as Chen Weihua does, that it’s a justified change—but I hope the Chinese government recognizes that in a very difficult situation, it has taken a step that changes previous understandings and may well provoke reactions from other parties.
The other is that the U.S. interest in this dispute—as I understand it, from a journalistic rather than a governmental perspective—is to contain the disagreement and encourage a diplomatic settlement. It has no interest in being directly involved or “taking sides.” The United States has deep and important relations with both China and Japan. In addition, as all governments in the region realize, it has a treaty obligation to defend Japan as part of the Constitutional arrangement that has kept Japan from fully rebuilding its own military.
All the governments involved have an interest in stepping back from a potential confrontation. I believe that this point is well understood in Washington, and I hope it is in both Tokyo and Beijing.
Tai Ming Cheung, director of the University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation: