US warns China over new air zone

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US warns China over new air zone NewsLineToday    Gallery Enlarge Image

Manju Shukla
Date  01/02/2014
The United States has advised China not to declare a new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over parts of the South China Sea where disputed territories are located.

US State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on Friday that any such move would be seen “as a provocative and unilateral act that would raise tensions and call into serious question China’s commitment to diplomatically managing territorial disputes.”

The comments were made after Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun published a report saying that working level officials in China’s air force have drafted proposals for the new zone that could put the Paracel Islands at its core and spread over much of the sea.

The draft was submitted to top Chinese military officials by May 2013, the Japanese daily said, citing unnamed sources.

Beijing claims the South China Sea in its entirety, while other countries surrounding the sea also have claims to the area and are in dispute with China.

In November 2013, China declared an ADIZ above the East China Sea, covering islands at the center of a territorial dispute with Japan.

Beijing required all aircraft to provide their flight plan, declare their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication before entering the airspace, or face “defensive emergency measures.”

Both Japan and South Korea have announced that they have flown through the zone without informing the Chinese government. The United States also sent two unarmed bombers over the zone on November 26 to test the waters.

The uninhabited islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, are located near a crucial shipping lane and give the owner exclusive oil, mineral and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.

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