China’s new push to assert itself across the Asia-Pacific region has left neighboring nations, including U.S. allies, concerned over the country’s next move.
Chinese leadership asserted that they have a sovereign right to create an “air identification zone” in the East China Sea. Regional leaders question whether allowing this move by China could result in additional zones and threaten their sovereignty.
“China’s zone includes the sovereign airspace of both Japan and South Korea, they declared this unilaterally, this is clearly a provocative act,” international affairs expert Gordon Chang told Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland.
U.S. officials have told civilian airlines to abide by Beijing's instruction to notify them when they enter the air defense zone, but Chang disagrees with the policy.
“This is horrible foreign policy in our part,” said Chang. “Nobody wants to put American airliners at risk, but it is a consistent American policy for more than two centuries to defend freedom of navigation.”
Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” said the U.S. should have told airliners to completely avoid the area.
“We should not have our civilian planes at risk of Chinese dangerous tactics,” said Chang.
Vice President Joe Biden is on a weeklong trip to Asia, including a planned stop in China later this week.
Chang says we shouldn’t count on Biden to push back hard on this issue.
“I don’t think he’s going to be able to push the Chinese in a better direction because he’s talking language of cooperation,” said Chang. “Right now there are real problems in the Chinese regime, [Chinese President] Xi Jinping declared this zone in order to create a confrontation.”
Concerns have been raised over a growing nationalistic tone among Chinese leadership that is leading to confrontations with U.S officials.
“One thing we can do is a show little resolution and strength and make sure the Chinese understand that were going to … defend our allies,” said Chang. “We shouldn’t be talking cooperation right now in face of aggregation from China.”
Chris Snyder is a producer for Fox News based in New York. Follow him on twitter: @ChrisSnyderFox.