Australia Urges China Not to Create South China Sea Air Zone


Australia urged China not to create a proprietary air zone over the disputed South China Sea, with defusing tensions in the waters a priority, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.

“The Asean countries have been discussing this and I believe they’ve made their position quite plain that they would be deeply concerned if there was any attempt to impose an air defense identification zone over the South China Sea,” Bishop said in an interview in Canberra on Monday, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China, which is creating artificial islands in the busy shipping and fishing area that’s also claimed by countries like the Philippines and Vietnam, said again this month it reserves the right to establish an ADIZ. It sparked a rebuke from Australia, Japan and the U.S. when it set up a similar zone in late 2013 over disputed islands in the adjacent East China Sea.

The Philippines said its patrol planes have been warned recently by China to stop flying over the Spratly island area. Bishop said she had spoken to senior leaders in China and urged them to avoid actions that raise tensions.

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