Bei­jing dis­misses re­port of planned S. China Sea ADIZ

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By LI XIAOKUN lix­i­aokun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Whether China sets up air de­fense iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zones de­pends on the ex­tent of threats it faces from the skies, a De­fense Min­istry spokesman said on Thurs­day.

“As a sov­er­eign coun­try, China, is en­ti­tled to es­tab­lish ADIZs,” Yang Yu­jun said.

Yang was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion about a re­port from Ja­pan’s Asahi Shim­bun that China has drafted pro­pos­als for an ADIZ over the South China Sea.

Yang said at the monthly news brief­ing that many fac­tors have to be con­sid­ered in de­cid­ing whether to es­tab­lish an ADIZ.

An ADIZ is nei­ther sov­er­eign airspace nor a no-fly zone, he said. Es­tab­lish­ing an ADIZ does not nec­es­sar­ily mean a change of ter­ri­to­rial land, sea and airspace.

“What is note­wor­thy is that China has con­fi­dence in the sta­bil­ity of the broad sit­u­a­tion in the South China Sea and China’s re­la­tions with coun­tries sur­round­ing the sea.

“Also note­wor­thy is that Ja­pan’s right- wing forces have made re­peated al­le­ga­tions that China will soon set up an ADIZ over the South China Sea, and their ul­te­rior mo­tive is to dis­tract in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion,” Yang said.

In 2013, China es­tab­lished its first ADIZ, which cov­ers part of the East China Sea, in­clud­ing its Diaoyu Is­lands. The move came 44 years af­ter Ja­pan an­nounced its own ADIZ.

Bei­jing re­quires for­eign planes to no­tify the Chi­nese govern­ment of flights through the zone. It promised the zone does not tar­get nor­mal flights by in­ter­na­tional air­lin­ers.

Es­tab­lish­ing an ADIZ in the South China Sea is by no means a given, ex­perts said.

Chen Qinghong, a re­searcher on South­east Asian stud­ies at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said, “At present, there is no press­ing ne­ces­sity to set up an ADIZ in the South China Sea.

“The re­gional sit­u­a­tion has greatly im­proved since last year, when Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang vis­ited some South­east Asian coun­tries,” he said.

Dur­ing Li’s trip, Brunei and Viet­nam an­nounced they would jointly de­velop parts of the South China Sea with China, a move that ex­perts hailed as a “break­through” in set­tling ter­ri­to­rial dis­putes in the wa­ters.

Chen also said that the Chi­nese lead­ers made a se­ries of sin­cere pro­pos­als to deepen co­op­er­a­tion with the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions, such as es­tab­lish­ing a fund for mar­itime co­op­er­a­tion, build­ing the “mar­itime Silk Road” and de­vel­op­ing a mar­itime part­ner­ship.

As for the re­port of China’s al­leged draft plans to set up an ADIZ over the South China Sea, Chen said that Bei­jing has never said it has such plans, and the re­port “was con­cocted by the Ja­panese me­dia”.

“Ja­pan is try­ing to di­vert in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion and vie for sup­port to re­verse the un­fa­vor­able sit­u­a­tion it is fac­ing over the East China Sea,” he said.

In an­other move, China and ASEAN are to hold the next round of meet­ings of se­nior of­fi­cials in Sin­ga­pore next month to dis­cuss the Code of Con­duct in the South China Sea, Chen said.

The only prob­lem is that the Philip­pines and Ja­pan are still es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions in the re­gion, he said.

The De­fense Min­istry’s Yang warned on Thurs­day that Ja­pan’s right-wing forces are at­tempt­ing to change the out­come of World War II and the post­war in­ter­na­tional or­der.

He warned the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to be on high alert, and vowed that the Chi­nese mil­i­tary will “never al­low a re­peat of the tragedy in his­tory”.

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