The Chinese Defense Ministry today issued a map of a newly identified air-defense zone in the East China Sea that includes a chain of disputed islands also claimed by Japan. The move triggered an immediate protest from Tokyo. Beijing also issued a set of rules for the zone, saying all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing. It said it would "identify, monitor, control, and react" to any air threats or unidentified flying objects coming from the sea.
In Tokyo, a Foreign Ministry official called the move "totally unacceptable" and criticized China for escalating bilateral tensions over the islands. Both Beijing and Tokyo claim the islets, known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyu in Chinese. Protests erupted throughout China last year to denounce the Japanese government's purchase of the islands from private ownership. "China is playing a dangerous game here," says the director of the security and international studies program at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. "It is certainly an escalatory action." (Read more China stories.)