Japan, Philippines alarmed by China's new air zone

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Sunday, December 8, 2013


MANILA (Updated) — Japan's defense minister said Saturday that China's recently declared maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea raises regional tensions and that the international community must oppose any move to establish a similar zone over the South China Sea.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera discussed Japan's concern over China's action separately with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop. Onodera and Bishop separately visited central Tacloban city, which was ruined by Typhoon Haiyan last November.

After meeting with Gazmin, Onodera told reporters that they both discussed reports that China is considering establishing a similar zone over the South China Sea.

"Any unilateral establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in any area would bring up tensions over the area. Therefore we have concerns over such development," Onodera said through an interpreter.

In his meeting with Bishop, Onodera said he mentioned that the international community "should meet to deal with this matter together" and that any unilateral action by coercive means should be opposed.

Japan China East China Sea
In this Sept. 2012 photo, the tiny islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese are seen. The Chinese Defense Ministry on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, issued a map of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone that includes a chain of disputed islands also claimed by Japan, triggering a protest from Tokyo. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)


The United States, Australia, South Korea and other countries have also expressed alarm over China's new ADIZ after the Chinese Defense Ministry on Saturday issued a map of an East China Sea ADIZ that includes a chain of disputed islands also claimed by Japan, triggering a protest from Tokyo.

Beijing issued a set of rules for the zone, saying all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves or obey orders from Beijing. It said it would "identify, monitor, control and react" to any air threats or unidentified flying objects coming from the sea.

Japan's defense minister said China's unilateral establishment of the air zone and demand for all commercial flights passing through it to submit flight plans in advance violate the spirit of the International Civil Aviation Organization treaty.

Earlier this week, China's ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing said it was Beijing's right to decide "where and when to set up" an ADIZ. She would not say, however, whether China would set up a zone over the South China Sea. (AP)

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