China's declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea shocked the international community, and many explanations have been offered about the motivation behind it. We argue that domestic politics played a key role in the ADIZ policy. However, existing studies have not paid sufficient attention to decisionmakers' political motivation. To fill this gap, we explore two distinct models: the diversionary foreign policy model and the mobilization model. Both models focus on the linkage between the state leader's domestic political consideration and foreign policy behavior, but each has different theoretical and empirical implications. Our findings suggest that the mobilization model offers a better explanation of the motivation for China's move.
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