On November 23 China announced that it unilaterally established an air defense
identification zone (ADIZ) with rules demanding that all aircraft flying
through this ADIZ notify China; otherwise, China would adopt defense emergency
Since China’s ADIZ overlaps with the ADIZs of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and China did not consult with other nations prior to the announcement, the affected nations have responded strongly to the Chinese action.
U.S., Japan and South Korea consider this action as an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo. Chinese orders for all aircraft flying through its ADIZ are more demanding than those applied by other nations. While other nations require aircraft to submit flight plans only when they anticipate entering that nation's territorial airspace, China demands that all planes file plans whether they will enter China's territorial airspace or are simply transiting through the ADIZ parallel to Chinese territory. China’s announcement promptly ratchets up tension in the region and heightens the risk of military conflicts, therefore destabilizing regional peace.
Under these circumstances, the priority for Taiwan should be to closely coordinate with friendly nations and take concerted actions; this was one of the primary recommendations put forth by DPP during its press conference on November 25 and the Central Standing Committee meeting on the 27th.
However, we have witnessed the confused and China-leaning nature of the Ma administration’s national security decision making process, which has placed Taiwan under higher strategic risks. Inexplicably, when President Ma first spoke on the issue on December 1st, he asked all related nations to restrain themselves and negotiate with China on the matter as soon as possible. This suggests an implicit acceptance of the Chinese stance.
It is hard for us to imagine that Taiwan, which shares close relations with the US-Japan collective defense system, has a president who edges the country towards China’s position at this moment of crisis. I must take this opportunity to call for and demand that:
- In this ADIZ controversy, we must take account of Taiwan’s sovereignty and national security and not accept China’s attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by cutting into Taiwan’s existing ADIZ and compressing Taiwanese air defense space. We also have to voice our protest, asking that China retract its decision and demanding that the Ma administration publicly take the same position as our partners to request a Chinese withdrawal of its announcement.
- Concerning the broader strategic framework for Taiwan, we must reaffirm Taiwan’s strategic cooperative relations with our partners, namely the democratic alliance that I have mentioned previously, and not vacillate or let our partners view us as untrustworthy.
- China’s Nov. 23 announcement has elevated the tension in the region. I ordered the DPP’s legislative caucus to continuously monitor the Ma administration’s actions and the Party’s Departments of Policy and International Affairs as well as the Defense Policy Advisory Committee to pay close attention to developments regarding this matter, including whether China demarcates an ADIZ in the South China Sea, and to offer timely response.