The tension surrounding the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is being covered in the kind of exhaustive detail that is rarely given to Asia’s maritime disputes. Many reports have surfaced claiming that the move might have been a strategic blunder for China. Yet, I’ve yet to see any reports explaining in precise details what China was hoping to accomplish by creating the ADIZ.
To be sure, Beijing probably took some joy in seeing the anger the move sparked in Tokyo, particularly given that it perceives its creation of the East China Sea ADIZ as little different from Japan purchase of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands last year. But foreign policy is rarely based solely on vengeance. Indeed, creating the East China Sea ADIZ was much more sophisticated and part of a larger strategy China has been pursuing long before last weekend.