Caroline Kennedy Calls for China to Rethink Airspace Restrictions

Increased air traffic monitoring by the Chinese government could increase tensions in the region.
3:00 | 11/27/13

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Transcript for Caroline Kennedy Calls for China to Rethink Airspace Restrictions
This is a special -- -- from the ABC. To Caroline Kennedy and Kennedy's posting as the US ambassador to Japan less than two weeks into her -- She's already the face of American interest in the region and the voice of the White House as a dispute over US bombers dipping into Chinese airspace escalates. With all the latest we're joined now from the Pentagon by ABC's Louis -- -- Well he can you take us through the timeline of events here. Well this -- started this weekend -- when China and they're surprisingly announced that they were setting up what's called. An air defense identification zone this doesn't mean that they're extending their airspace into the waters of the East China Sea. What it means is that they want any air traffic -- transiting through there. To present advanced flight lands. I'm maintain radio contact. And basically. They said this was being done for defensive purposes now the result has been a very strong diplomatic backlash from partners in the region Japan South Korea. And United States United States have been basically saying that China's -- has been very destabilizing. That it could create problems in the region. And so tonight didn't -- -- -- earlier about Caroline Kennedy. And then in Japan and -- be stressed what the United States has been saying since then. That they want the Chinese. To basically backtrack on this because they think it's a destabilizing -- for so. Go ahead and when it says B fifty twos fly through the -- -- is -- before after the declaration. While the B fifty twos were talking about to happen to after. The Chinese set up this what they call here depending on the eight games this basically be. Acronym for this for -- air defense identification zone. Pentagon officials are telling us that this was a long planned military exercise but that obviously when the United States said. That it was not going to do in the senate but his -- was not going to -- affect US military operations or flights through that affected area. That some consideration was given -- should we proceed with the in this B 52 training flight. And they decided that they would. And what they -- -- they've basically flew from Guam which about 15100 miles away. Came within a hundred miles and these what's known as -- -- cool islands which are administered by Japan but which China claims. And then they flew back without identifying themselves or establishing radio contact with the Chinese. -- Chinese say issued a statement last night saying that a track those aircraft but that's about all they did. That big concern had been that if the United States tested this aid is the what. How China might react because in their initial statement they said. That any aircraft they didn't follow these rules might be said -- what they called defensive emergency. Procedures when they never specified what that might be but it either way a decade -- nothing happened. And the United States establish that yes he can still fly through this area. Okay you mentioned it did geography below the air space let's talk about that for a minute and why this group of violence. Is important to the Chinese and the Japanese and the quarreled they've had over this territory for decades. It's it's crazy tie this is a Smart eight uninhabited islands that are close its Taiwan and the -- China. And father as far away from -- Japan as -- -- getting yet -- administered by Japan. But there's band over the last couple of years a lot of confrontation. In the waters off these islands which are -- -- -- through. In by the Japanese and they die you by the Chinese. And you think it's really not that big deal is just territory in the middle of nowhere but what's significant about it is at the water's up these islands are presumed to. -- behalf hold oil and natural gas users so -- this is part of the world is heavily dependent on energy. And so they're looking for their -- so that's the territory that is drawing all the attention and the Chinese have claimed what what the waters. Belongs in political and economic exclusion zone. And now he translated that. To the air -- -- above by setting out this air defense -- -- so the Japanese are seeing this as yet another attempt by China to claim. These islands that they administer. Because this airspace. In this area. Flies at over. A portion of this -- -- who islands. Okay now vice president Joseph Biden is going to be in China Japan and South Korea next week what kind of message is he expected delivered to you think this will come up. Well this is a long plane trip. I Vice President Biden he's going to be visiting as -- -- Japan factory in China. That what we're here from US officials at a message is that for vice president he's gonna take a Chinese that he wants greater clarification about what it is. That the Chinese are trying to do by sitting out this air defense -- zone. And he's also been every stress than the level of commitment -- the United States places in its relationship with Japan. Because United States and Japan have a mutual defense treaty. And you've seen the statements come out from -- the State Department and the Pentagon that the United States considers easing -- -- to be covered. Biden this mutual defense treaty so -- -- -- a pretty big deal the United States reaffirming its commitment. To the region don't forget that here at the -- they keep talking about this pivot to Asia. The focus away from the wars in Afghanistan in the Middle East to Asia. The case that's where on the future. Lies in terms of national security for the US so this is a great opportunity for Vice President Biden could restate that hit it. And also to get. -- received -- commitment. To Japan. It's also quite an opportunity for Caroline Kennedy in the US ambassador to Japan -- just recently confirmed and now she -- something -- -- hot button. Issue on her hands let's listen in which she had to say about the dispute. Unilateral. Actions like those taken by China with -- announcement of an East China Sea air defense identification zone. Undermine security and constitute an attempt to change the status quo in East China Sea. This only serves to increase tensions in the region. Japan has shown great restraint this past year and we urge them to continue to do so. We encourage Japan to increase communications with its neighbors and continued to respond. To regional challenges in a measured way. Our -- -- there we have the newly minted US ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy any. Any reason to doubt that this is the voice of the White House channeling through her. Now -- she is re -- exactly what. The State Department and the -- out of saint for the last couple days even the White House is the same message she's conveying it in person in Japan in her first public policy speech. She's been on the job for two weeks he's been -- hit over in Japan. And today she took on a serious side because -- She's in there to represent American interest in the region. And she was restating American policy with regards to this Chinese own. And that is that we see it as a destabilizing move that's unnecessary. But obviously coming from her eyes she's very popular as I said the Kennedy name is a huge. Has huge popularity in Japan she's going to be -- a lot of attention. And I think it's -- her message -- -- carry some -- Now speaking again about the dispute China's one and only aircraft carrier set off into the South China Sea yesterday is this. All part of the effort to expand -- stake in the region is that haven't seen. While some people are reading. Into yet. Just let's step be clarified -- the aircraft carriers not going to east China -- where this new. Zone is that. Been established by the Chinese but -- rather the South China Sea which is closer to the Philippines. Now the Philippines and China have also had their territorial disputes over so again it's another series a remote islands. Call this Bradley's and once again the same issues oil and gas exploration. Well this carrier which has been -- in the works under construction for several years now. It's basically getting its sea trials that it's been big and long planned. Big coincidence here of course is the significance that summer reading into it. That the Chinese sending out its carrier which you have by the way the reasoning got this -- were so that they could assert themselves as as of naval power in the region. Seven. Being a little too much into it right now but in the future when something like this happens in my carry little more way. OK so bottom line China unilaterally decides to expand its airspace the United States tests them perhaps by flying on armed B 52 mission. Through that airspace. Ultimately will this affect. Chinese US relations. It's already affected yes Chinese relations and in terms. How they -- each other in the region. One thing that's interesting -- -- I think there's already been downplaying by the Chinese that initial statement that are for -- came -- over the weekend. Talked about his defense and emergency measures. Well -- -- Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman was asked today Whiting taking any action against -- American -- he's basically said. We're gonna do this on a case by case basis and depend on the circumstances. Now the clarification and that has come over the last couple days has been that this was beaten would not affect. Civilian aircraft. But yet Japanese airlines war submitting their flight plans in advance following the rules well last night. Under pressure from the Japanese government -- needed to major airlines in Japan announced that they were not going to continue doing. Basically following the -- from their government that there's no need for them you Chris provide those advance. Like plans. So this is gonna continue in terms of the Japanese. Chinese confrontation. The tit for tat that's been going on both ambassadors called -- the respective capitals. But in terms of the US long term relationship I didn't we're talking about the -- Asia so -- issues and major just gonna become. Very common to us here in the United States over the long term. But for now. It appears in addition to be downplaying by the Chinese. On and we of course we have vice president Biden's trip next week's earnings be seen what happens after that if China should react negatively during his visit. -- thank you Louis ABC's -- Martinez at the Pentagon. All the latest right here on This has been an ABC news digital special report on time Hernandez in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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