Chicoms target US recon flights
China's air force planned to impose the controversial air defense identification zone several years ago to assert territorial control and counter U.S. aerial spying, defense officials tell Inside the Ring.The broad claims attempt to rewrite international alw on territory claimed by countries. They will probably lead to UN discussion of the claims and could lead to military confrontation with the US and others.
Internal Chinese military writings reveal that a nationwide air defense zone was under consideration as early as 2008 as part of China’s efforts to assert control over large areas of international waters in northeast Asia, the East China Sea and South China Sea.
One Chinese air force report said the main goal of the zone is to assert territorial claims and drive U.S. and Japanese reconnaissance aircraft away from the coast as part of an effort to protect military secrets.
The air force internal research paper from October 2008 stated that China needed a “national” air defense zone to secure China’s “territorial seas” to counter “constant, fierce contention” of the surrounding seas.
Another key element of the zone is to monitor and “drive away” U.S. reconnaissance aircraft that conduct frequent “spying and disruptive activities” along the coast.
Asked Wednesday what was behind the air defense zone, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, “I don’t know.”
In 2001, a Chinese J-8 fighter crashed into a U.S. EP-3 surveillance aircraft flying some 70 miles off the Chinese coast, setting off a crisis for the new administration of President George W. Bush.
China held the 24-member EP-3 crew captive after it made an emergency landing on Hainan Island. The military then forced the Pentagon to cut up the aircraft for removal after closely examining the remaining spy gear on board.
Chinese air force efforts to conduct patrols and intercepts in the contested air defense zone extending nearly 100 miles into the Pacific are being watched closely by U.S. military intelligence monitors.