China on Thursday said there was “no question” of it establishing an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) near its border with India. It pointed out that such zones are set up only by littoral countries in international airspace.
On Saturday, China announced the setting up of its first ADIZ — an area in international airspace within which countries monitor aircraft — which extends over the disputed East China Sea islands that are at the centre of a dispute between China and Japan. The Chinese government said aircraft that enter its ADIZ — which overlaps with parts of the ADIZ set up by Japan in 1969 — will be required to notify the authorities in advance about their flight plans. Failure to do so could trigger “emergency” responses from defence forces.
Following the setting up of the East China Sea ADIZ, China has said it will establish other zones “at the right time after necessary preparations” are completed.
The announcement has generated wide attention in the region, prompting Japan and South Korea to voice concern, as the ADIZ overlaps with the zones of both countries. Chinese officials have, however, defended the move, pointing out that many countries have long established similar zones. The Foreign Ministry said there was no question of such a zone beyond China’s land boundaries in the west — where it shares a disputed border with India — as an ADIZ refers to international airspace beyond the territorial airspace of littoral countries.
“I want to clarify that on the concept of an ADIZ, it is an area of airspace established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said at a regular briefing. “So the question does not arise”.
Asked if the next ADIZ would be over the South China Sea, Mr. Qin told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday that other zones would be set up “in due course after completing relevant preparations.”