China denies reports of setting up air identification zone

03 February 2014

China has dismissed reports in the Japanese media that it is settingt up an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the disputed South China Sea, and expressed optimism over the regional situation saying it was "yet to feel any air security threat" from its Southeast Asian neighbours.

"In a general view, the Chinese side has yet to feel any air security threat from the ASEAN countries and is optimistic about its relations with the neighbouring countries and the general situation in the South China Sea region," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a press release on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the Asahi Shimbun daily of Japan reported that China has drafted proposals for the Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea.

Hong said the right-wing forces of Japan have repeatedly clamoured about the alleged plan of China to set up an ADIZ over the South China Sea. He said this protest is of ''ulterior motive'' and ''simply aimed to shift international attention from and cover up the plot to change Japan's pacifist constitution and expand its military power''.

"We sternly warn these forces not to mislead public opinions with rumours and play up tensions for their own selfish benefit," Hong said.

China established its first ADIZ in November over parts of the East China Sea, amid an increasingly tense stand-off with Japan over the disputed Diaoyu / Senkaku islands. An ADIZ is a defined area in international airspace within which countries monitor and track aircraft heading towards their territory.

Hong stressed that China and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) share a bright future for their relations. He said China and the ASEAN countries are working together to implement the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea in a comprehensive and effective way to safeguard peace and stability in the region.

In response to reports about US officials' comments on the issue, Hong said China hopes the relevant parties remain cautious about their words and deeds, maintain a calm and objective stance, make joint efforts with China and make concrete contribution to peace, stability and security in the air and on sea of the region.

Hong said China, as a sovereign country, has the right to adopt all measures, including setting up an ADIZ, to safeguard national security in response to the situation of air security. No one should make irresponsible comments on this, he added.

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