China claims right to air de­fence zone

Daily Trust - - AROUND THE WORLD -

Bei­jing “has the right” to de­clare an air de­fence iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone over the South China Sea, it said Wed­nes­day as it stepped up de­nun­ci­a­tions of an in­ter­na­tional tri­bunal that ruled against its ex­pan­sive claims in the strate­gic waters.

Whether Bei­jing set up such a zone - which would re­quire civil­ian air­craft to iden­tify them­selves to mil­i­tary con­trollers - de­pended on “the level of threat we re­ceive”, said vice for­eign min­is­ter Liu Zhen­min.

“Do not turn the South China Sea into a cra­dle of war,” he told re­porters, in­sist­ing: “China’s aim is to turn the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion”.

China re­asserted its claims to the area, which ex­tend al­most to the coasts of neigh­bour­ing states, after the Per­ma­nent Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion (PCA) tri­bunal in The Hague backed the Philip­pines’ case that there was no le­gal ba­sis for them.

Liu de­scribed the rul­ing as “a piece of waste pa­per” at a press con­fer­ence, al­leg­ing the tri­bunal had been “ma­nip­u­lated”.

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