China's official media pointedly said Friday that Japan is the "prime target" of Beijing's newly declared air control zone over the East China Sea, warning that China is willing to engage in "a protracted confrontation with Japan."
China's declaration of its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), announced last week, has sparked strong resistance from Japan, the United States, South Korea and other neighboring Asian nations. The new zone partly overlaps those of South Korea and Japan.
The U.S. flew two B-52 bombers through the Chinese zone without informing China this week. South Korea and Japan followed suit. In response, China sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft on patrol Thursday into the disputed air space.
In an editorial titled "Japan prime target of ADIZ tussle," the official Global Times newspaper said, "We should carry out timely countermeasures without hesitation against Japan when it challenges China's newly declared ADIZ."
"If Tokyo flies its aircraft over the zone, we will be bound to send our planes to its ADIZ," the editorial said.
"If the trend continues, there will likely be friction and confrontations and even tension in the air like in the Cold War era between the U.S. and the Soviet Union," it said.
"It is therefore an urgent task for China to further train its air force to make full preparation for potential conflicts," the editorial said.
"We are willing to engage in a protracted confrontation with Japan. Our ultimate goal is to beat its willpower and ambition to instigate strategic confrontation against China," it said.
Analysts said the Chinese declaration of air control zone is mainly aimed at bolstering its claims to a group of islets in the East China Sea at the center of a bitter territorial dispute with Japan, which are known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan.
BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Yonhap)