US warns China over planned new air zone
MANILA, Philippines—Reports about China’s plans to set up a new Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea drew a quick reaction from the United States Department of State, which said it was still in the process of confirmation.
But at a press briefing in Washington DC, Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson of the state department, warned China about declaring an ADIZ over South China Sea, which many countries regard as a vital international sea lane.
“We have seen unconfirmed reports of Chinese preparations to declare a new ADIZ over portions of the South China Sea. We would consider such an ADIZ over portions of the South China Sea as a provocative and unilateral act that would raise tensions and call into serious question China’s commitment to diplomatically managing territorial disputes in the South China Sea,” Harf said in the briefing, the transcript and video of which were posted on the department’s website.
“We’ve made very clear that parties must refrain from announcing an ADIZ or any other administrative regulation restraining activity of others in disputed territories. And we would of course urge China not to do so,” she added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to comment on the issue.
US media reports also quoted Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steven Warren reiterating Washington’s opposition to the planned South China ADIZ as well as the other ADIZ up by China over the East China Sea, which has angered Japan and South Korea.
Harf also said the US is aware of reports that the Chinese Navy was conducting military maneuvers in the South China Sea near the coast of Malaysia.
“As we say, I think, repeatedly, claimants should avoid actions in disputed areas of the South China Sea that may raise tensions and undermine prospects for diplomacy,” she said.
The Japanese newspaper Asahi on Friday reported that China was laying out plans for another ADIZ in the South China Sea, which encompassed the Spratly Islands and other islets, atolls, shoals and reefs disputed by China, Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
As early as December last year, the Taiwanese defense ministry reported to parliament that there were indications that China would be establishing a new ADIZ over the South China Sea.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.