For the Chinese, the modern history of China began in 1840 when the Sino-British Opium War erupted.
Many Western historians are of the view that the conflict was a result of China's not opening up its markets to foreign trade, or a form of punishment for China's backwardness.
The Chinese, however, firmly believe the foreign powers made use of their naval prowess and military advantage to infringe upon China's sovereignty.
For the Chinese, this period of history which saw their country being "beaten up" by Western powers serves as a warning that China needs to safeguard its national security and pay attention to unresolved issues which may impact it.
The dispute over the ownership of the Diaoyu islands is one such issue and its historical roots can be traced back to the same period in modern Chinese history when China suffered at the hands of Western powers.
This brief historical outline is necessary in order to understand why Beijing created the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ).
The new air zone stems from China's sense of feeling unsafe. Washington's so-called "pivot to Asia" policy plan has effectively disrupted the integration of ASEAN and Chinese economies.
These unresolved security issues have been used by the United States to support the pivot.
The Pentagon's so-called Air-Sea Battle doctrine has further convinced China it faces growing security threats in the region.
On the Diaoyu islands dispute, Tokyo has used its own ADIZ, which overlaps with China's newly created air zone, to upset the operations of China's patrol ships and oil fields in the area. This made Beijing realise the security threat it faces is a real one.
Hence, Beijing adopted simple and clear logic in response: If other countries can set up ADIZs around China, why can't similar zones be established by a China facing air and sea threats?