PRAYER ALERT: At last report, South Korea and Japan together are letting 500 of their flights a day trespass the new China air defense zone. They say they are ignoring it because they were ignored when China arbitrarily declared the 600-mile-long air zone on Nov. 23. Less than a week later, South Korea and Japan followed their ally the US in defiantly flying military planes through the zone. South Korea and Japan are incensed because the China air defense zone effectively lays claim to key islands that they administer.
South Korea has even announced it will extend its own air defense zone into China’s. The zones overlap on a small underwater rock called Ieo Island. A South Korean research station is located there. China now plans to patrol this island with ships and surveillance aircraft. After unsuccessful talks with China on its air zone, US Vice President Joseph Biden has flown to Seoul. He will try to persuade South Korea not to provoke China into a confrontation over this station that could escalate out of control.
Japan’s area of contention with China is bigger—12 nautical miles of islands claimed by both. This renewed dispute comes at a time when Japan is revising its core defense policy. After its crushing defeat in WWII Japan was occupied by the US, and afterwards operated under a constitution which forbade it to wage war. But the Japan Self-Defense Forces have gradually grown into the seventh most expensive armed force in the world. It is moving toward closer cooperation with the US in the face of China’s bold moves in the region.
Is the new China air defense zone an aggressive quest for territory? Probably not, if one takes a sober view of its geographical position. China’s coast is surrounded by allies of the US, its powerful rival. The US patrols China’s shipping and supply lanes. The US blocks it from invading Taiwan, China’s former territory. But China, like its own ally, North Korea, is fond of making a show of force. It likes to display before the world its military power, and what it could do if it were provoked.
China’s saber-rattling over little islands is a game to remind its neighbors that they are foes. But it’s a game that one of its neighbors may one day take seriously. The region has been remarkably free of war since WWII. But the increasing militarism of China and North Korea, and in response, Japan and South Korea, may be difficult to restrain once a trigger is pulled.
PRAY WITH US. Father God, all might and authority belongs to you. Your heavenly host is the greatest power in heaven and on earth. We ask You to use this power to restrain China, the US, Japan, and North and South Korea, from further provocation. Sustain Your heavenly angels who have held back war from the region for many years. Cover the new China air defense zone with Your unlimited grace. Let Your peace rest on the contested islands. Keep weapons of mass destruction out of operation.
We declare killing, stealing and destroying to be the work of the enemy. We declare Christ has come to destroy the enemy’s work. We ask that Your work in the region thrive greatly instead. We thank You for the massive underground Chinese house church movement. We thank You for turning South Korea in one century from a pagan nation to possibly the most Christian nation in the world. Let You peacemakers arise from China, South Korea and elsewhere to prevail over these conflicts. Let Your peace and Your government increase and spread. Cause warmongers to be still, and know that You are God. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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