U.S. Says It Won't Support China's Air Zone Grab

Secretary of State John Kerry publicly condemned China's attempt to establish an air defense zone over disputed territory with Japan.
Posted at 9:48 PM, Nov 24, 2013

​A simmering conflict between China and Japan is heating up after the announcement that China has established an air defense zone over a disputed island chain. And now, it appears the U.S. is picking a side.

China said Saturday it would enforce “emergency defensive measures” if aircraft failed to comply with rules in the defense zone. Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement Sunday condemning the move. (Via Euronews)

“We have urged China to exercise caution and restraint… Freedom of over-flight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability, and security in the Pacific.” (Via NBC)

Both Beijing and Tokyo claim ownership of the islands. China defended its decision to create a defense zone saying it's in line with what other countries do to protect their coasts. (Via Voice of America)

Japan is protesting the measure, saying it is much more than just a defensive tactic. China is already involved in similar disputes with other neighboring countries with its claims of air and naval space.

“This declaration of the airzone very clearly wants to test the United States. How far is the United States willing to go to back its ally, Japan?" (ViaCNN)

"It's not the intrinsic importance of these islands. These are five uninhabited islands and three rocks." (Via Bloomberg)

The Chinese Defense Ministry says it has already started to patrol the zone, which it is calling the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. (Via PBS)

The U.S. currently stations more than 70,000 troops in Japan and South Korea. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says China's move will not change those troops' operations.