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Rediff.com  » News » China rules out air defence zone along Sino-India border

China rules out air defence zone along Sino-India border

November 28, 2013 18:19 IST

China on Thursday ruled out establishing an air defence zone along the India-China border like it recently did over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, saying such zones are created only in coastal areas beyond territorial airspace.

"I want to clarify that on the concept of Air Defence Identification Zone, it is an area of airspace established by coastal state beyond its territorial airspace. So, the question does not arise," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a media briefing here.

He was responding to a question whether China has plans to declare ADIZ along the disputed India-China border, similar to a newly-declared zone over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Officials say air defence zones are established for coastal areas beyond the 12 nautical mile-territorial waters but not the land borders which have well-defined airspaces.

However, China apparently is keeping its options open for declaring such a zone over the disputed South China Sea as a defence ministry spokesman here said, replying to a question whether more such zones will be created.

"China will establish other air defence identification zones at an appropriate time after completing preparations," he said. China has already sent its first aircraft carrier Liaoning for military drills.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei contest China's claims of sovereignty over most of the South China Sea. The US, Japan, South Korea and Australia have already criticised the ADIZ over the East China Sea openly.

China acknowledged that two US B-52 bombers flew through it on Tuesday for over two hours defying the ADIZ rules. Qin admitted that a South Korean plane, too, has violated the ADIZ rules without informing about the flight. At the same time, he said many civilian airlines of various countries started informing their flight plans to Chinese aviation authorities, he said.

"As per ADIZ rule aircraft flying though it should submit plans to China. We hope all sides, including civil aviation side, can cooperate actively to maintain flight security. To my information, so far many airlines of many countries filed relevant application to China's civil aviation departments,"he said, responding to a question whether Beijing will take action against violating passenger planes.

"The normal over flight of foreign airlines will not be affected within the ADIZ," he said while pointing to the requirement to inform civil aviation officials.

Asked whether the civilian flights would be shot down for not informing, he said, "I want to reiterate establishment of ADIZ is not directed against normal international civil aviation. We hope that relevant airlines from other countries can cooperate to make the flights more secure," he said.

Meanwhile, state-run Global Times daily criticized the Chinese defence ministry's "slow response" in acknowledging the violation of the ADIZ by US B-52 Bombers.

"What's unusual is that the US took a deviant move when disclosing that they had 'conducted operations' in the area of the DiaoyuIslands and publicly posed a challenge to China's defence rules. This has nothing to do with military frictions but can only be viewed as a war of public opinion directed against Beijing.

"China's ADIZ withstood the test but we failed in offering a timely and ideal response as we have been inundated with an inconceivably large amount of information that is adverse to the new zone and will probably even undermine the image of our military forces in this transient Internet age," it said in an editorial.

"Therefore Chinese authorities must make speedy reactions to various emergencies and challenges. Beijing needs to reform its information release mechanism to win the  psychological battles waged by Washington and Tokyo. Increasing morale and cohesion of the Chinese people constitutes the fundamental cornerstone to properly handle diplomatic relations," it said.

Another state-run newspaper, China Daily said the United States is wrongly accusing China of increasing the tensions over the disputed islands.

"China's air defence identification zone is a legitimate response to and a natural product of Japan's unilateral move over the islets and the subsequently redefined 'status quo'.

“Washington is implying Beijing does not want to resolve the dispute diplomatically, knowing full well that Beijing always favours diplomacy. The Chinese approach to territorial disputes has always been the proposal to shelf them," it said in an editorial.

"If the (Japanese prime Minister) Abe administration continues to deny even the existence of a dispute over DiaoyuIslands, who is Beijing supposed to talk with?

"The current mess is a result of Tokyo's brinkmanship, and Washington's "message" will only add fuel to Tokyo's dangerous belligerence and further eliminate room for diplomatic manoeuvres.

"More importantly, it may put China and the US on a collision course. Which will prove much more hazardous than sending military aircraft to play chicken in the air," it said.

 

K J M Varma in Beijing