US Airlines Advised to 'Comply' with China's New Policy

  • Nov 30, 2013 11:22am GMT

From CNN - China, Japan and the United States are continuing their tense standoff in Beijing's disputed new air defense zone Friday -- a treacherous situation that both sides warn could lead to violence, intended or not.

To this point, a senior official in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration said Friday that commercial airlines are being told to abide by Beijing's call to notify it of plans to traverse the newly declared zone over the East China Sea, even if the U.S. government doesn't recognize it.

"We ... are advising for safety reasons that they comply with notices to airmen, which FAA always advises," the official said.

This advice reflects fears that the back-and-forth between the two sides could have unintended consequences involving not just opposing troops, but innocent civilians as well. It's a subtle change from two days earlier, when the State Department said "the U.S. government generally expects that U.S. carriers operating internationally" comply with other countries' mandates, rather than directing them to.

Whatever U.S. carriers do, two major Japanese airlines have refused to comply with China's declaration.

Last Saturday, China unilaterally announced the creation of a "Air Defense Identification Zone" over several islands it and Japan have both claimed. The two countries have been sharply at odds over those isles, which are believed to be near large reserves of natural resources.

Tokyo rejected the new zone, as well as Beijing's insistence that aircraft entering it identify themselves and file flight plans.

They were joined by South Korea and Washington, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying the move would "only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident."

Full story at CNN.

Map courtesy Wall Street Journal.