Kina utfordret lørdag USA og Japan da det tiltok seg retten til luftrommet over en øygruppe Japan administrerer og krevde at all gjennomfart må varsles på forhånd. Hvis ikke kan det medføre militære reaksjoner.

Dette var et utspill hverken USA eller Japan kunne finne seg i. Tirsdag passerte to B-52-bombefly over øyene, som Japan kaller Senkaku og Kina Diaoyu. Japan sier de heller ikke vil finne seg i å be Kina om lov til å bruke eget luftrom.

I NRKs morgensending lød det som om det var USA som utfordret og provoserte Kina. Kinas egenmektige oppførsel lørdag kom ikke frem. Kun at øygruppen er omstridt. Det lød som om USA eskalerte, mens det motsatte er tilfelle.

There was no immediate Chinese response to the flights conducted without prior notification as demanded under the new declaration from Beijing, which asserted the right to identify, monitor and possibly take military action against any aircraft that enter the area. The unexpected announcement by China was among its boldest moves yet in a struggle for power in Asia with the United States, and by extension its regional allies including Japan.


But Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wasted no time in responding to the initial Chinese declaration, issuing a statement on Saturday reiterating that the United States was “steadfast in our commitments to our allies and partners.” He also repeated that the mutual defense treaty with Japan applies to the disputed islands.

At Hagel eksplisitt nevner at forsvarspakten med Japan omfatter øyene er viktig. Kina tester USAs vilje, både i forhold til Senkaku, og Taiwan.

The move by China on Saturday appeared to be another step in its efforts to intensify pressure on Japan over the contested islands. In the past year, Chinese paramilitary ships have made almost daily incursions into the waters around the islands, including waters claimed by Japan. The incursions have led to a constant game of cat-and-mouse on the high seas in which the Japanese Coast Guard pursues the Chinese ships, with both sides using bullhorns and electronic sign boards to tell the other to stay out of its territorial waters.


After the announcement, several Japanese commercial airlines, including Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, began filing flight plans to China, according to the Japanese government. On Tuesday, the government asked the airlines to stop doing so, and officials said the airlines had agreed to heed their request.

“I believe it is important for the public and private sectors to cooperate in showing our firm resolve to China,” said Japan’s foreign minister, Fumio Kishida.

On Wednesday, a Japanese government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity following standard practice there said Japan welcomed the United States’ action.

Just how China would enforce its new rules may not be clear for a while, experts said. But the severe language that accompanied the announcement, and the fact that the new Chinese air defense zone overlaps with Japan’s air defense zone dating from 1969 were alarming, they said.