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Beijing dismisses report of planned S. China Sea ADIZ

Updated: 2014-02-28 01:05
By Li Xiaokun ( China Daily)

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".