The U.S. State Department said it “generally expects” that U.S. airlines honor notices to airmen (Notams) issued by foreign countries, while Japan has told its airlines to disregard China’s newly declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over part of the East China Sea. The conflicting guidance comes as tensions rise over how to address what the U.S., Japan, Taiwan and South Korea agree amounts to illegal territorial assertions on the part of China.
The U.S. government insists that its guidance to abide by the ADIZ does not equate to any acceptance of China’s actions.
“Freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability and security in the Pacific,” it said. “We remain deeply concerned by China’s November 23 declaration of an East China Sea Air Identification Zone.”
The new ADIZ covers an area overlapping a separate Japanese ADIZ extending to and surrounding the island of Okinawa as well as the Daioyu/Senkaku islands, over which both countries claim sovereignty. The Chinese ADIZ also covers an area over which South Korea claims jurisdiction.
An ADIZ essentially requires any airplane flying over the zone in question to submit a flight plan and maintain two-way radio contact.
Contacted by AIN over the weekend, Japan’s All Nippon Airways reported that it had submitted flight plans to Chinese authorities from November 24 to November 26, but it has since stopped doing so after the Japanese government instructed its airlines to disregard Beijing’s requirement. An airline spokesperson added that ANA never adjusted any of its flight plans or suffered any schedule disruptions attributable to China’s requirements. Japan Airlines hasn’t responded yet to AIN’s request for comment.