China announced on Saturday that it is setting up an air defense zone that includes the Senkaku islands, claimed by both China and Japan, to guard them against “potential air threats”. China has created a set of regulations that must be respected by planes flying in the area.
Japan warned on Sunday of the danger of “unpredictable events”, while the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said they were “deeply concerned” at China’s action and would defend Japan. Hagel made it clear that the U.S. would not respect China’s decision and that it would support Tokyo in case of an attack.
“I am strongly concerned as it is a profoundly dangerous act that may cause unintended consequences,” Abe said.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida called the measure “a one-sided action which leads us to assume the danger of unpredictable events on the spot” and added that Japan cannot accept China’s decision.
However, Japan Airlines said that the carrier received a notice and would start submitting flight plans to Chinese authorities.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the measures “are to protect China’s state sovereignty and territorial and airspace safety” and that they “will not affect the freedom of over-flights in relevant airspace,” according to the international press.