Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at a press conference at the Pentagon that the Chinese air zone is destabilizing the region.
However, both leaders declined to urge China to roll back the air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, as Japan’s government has demanded of the Chinese.
The lack of U.S.-China consultation and communication highlights what observers say is a failure of three decades of exchanges aimed at building trust between the two militaries.
“I have not spoken to my Chinese counterpart. I’ve spoken to our allies about the Chinese ADIZ,” Hagel said.
Dempsey said he attempted to contact the People’s Liberation Army chief of staff, Gen. Fang Fenghui.
At the State Department, spokeswoman Marie Harf reiterated that the administration is opposing the new air zone as a “highly provocative” act by China. She would not say whether Biden demanded that the Chinese rescind the zone.
“The policy hasn’t changed from the beginning to now, that we don’t believe that the Chinese should implement the new ADIZ,” she said. “We don’t recognize it.”Asked what was behind China’s asserting control over large areas of Pacific Ocean airspace, Hagel said: “I don’t know.”??
“This is, we’ve said, a highly provocative act that could lead to miscalculation and confrontation,” she added.
Instead, the defense secretary urged continuing to focus on efforts by Dempsey and the military services chiefs to develop stronger military-to-military relations with the Chinese.