Chinese decision on ADIZ not a wise course of action: Hagel

The recent Chinese decision to unilaterally declare a new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea is not a wise course of action, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

PTI| Updated: Dec 05, 2013, 11:38 AM IST

Washington: The recent Chinese decision to unilaterally declare a new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea is not a wise course of action, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

But unlike officials at the State Department and the White House, Hagel did not directly respond to questions if China should roll back its decision on the ADIZ.

"I think that we`ve made it pretty clear what our position is, the United States, on this. It`s not that the ADIZ itself is new or unique. The biggest concern that we have is how it was done so unilaterally and so immediately without any consultation. That`s not a wise course of action to take for any country," Hagel told Pentagon reporters.

Hagel, who has spoken with the key US allies in the region after the Chinese announcement, said that it is important for China, Japan, South Korea, all the nations in this area, to stay calm and responsible.

"These are combustible issues. That`s been a role that we have tried to play in the United States and an influence that we have in that area, and with our allies, but this is a time when we need to carefully, all of us, work through some of these differences," he told Pentagon reporters.

Describing the Chinese move as "destabilising", General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the this is not about sovereign air space.
"We`re talking about international air space, adjacent to sovereign air space," he noted.

"And as you know, the international norm is that entering an ADIZ, you would only report if you intended to enter the sovereign air space of the country that declared the ADIZ."

"So it wasn`t the declaration of the ADIZ that actually was destabilising, it was their assertion that they would cause all aircraft entering the ADIZ to report, regardless of whether they were intending to enter into the sovereign air space of China.

And that is destabilising," Dempsey said.

Hagel said that over the past few years, the United States has been working in building military to military relationship with China.

"We are working toward a stronger relationship to build some mechanisms to address some of these tension issues, which probably are not going to get any less complicated, in the East and South China Sea," he said.