US urged not to ignite World War III in Pacific
The Senkaku/Diaoyu islands
Mon Dec 9, 2013 10:2PM GMT
Retired Chinese diplomat Sha Zukang has called on the US, Japan and China to avoid a major conflict in the Asia-
Pacific region over “those two tiny rocks” in the East China Sea.
The former Chinese ambassador to the UN was referring to the tensions after China announced a new Air
Defense Identification Zone over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, the China Times reported.
Washington and its ally in the region Tokyo both strongly criticized Beijing’s decision. “If China started a war with
Japan, it would be much larger than both the Sino-Japanese War and World War II,” Sha told China’s outlet the
Global Times. “The United States and Japan should cooperate with China to maintain regional peace,” he added.
The tiny islands, called Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, have been a source of tension between
Beijing and Tokyo for decades. Last September, Japan claimed to nationalize a part of the island chain by buying
them back from private ownership. China established the air defense zone last month, urging all military and
commercial aircraft to inform the Chinese government before entering the region. However, the United States and
Japan violated the air zone several times after China’s declaration. Two American B-52 bombers defied the zone
just three days after the declaration. On Sunday, South Korea also expanded its air zone for the first time in 62
years to include airspace over the East China Sea that is also claimed by China and Japan. During a press
conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that his country “expresses regret
over South Korea’s expansion of its air defense identification zone.” Last week, four US senators accused China
of “disturbing trend of increasingly hostile” actions in the Pacific in a letter to China’s ambassador to Washington,
saying China’s decision is “potentially dangerous.” The declaration has made a “misunderstanding or
miscalculation” more likely while reinforcing “the perception that China prefers coercion over rule of law
mechanisms to address territorial, sovereignty and jurisdictional issues in the Asia-Pacific,” the senators wrote.
The US senators also urged China not to implement the zone as announced and to “refrain from taking similar
provocative actions elsewhere in the region.” AGB/AGB