China is effectively enforcing an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea, a Philippine justice said at a Washington, D.C.-based think tank last week.
Since China enforced an ADIZ – a publicly defined area where unidentified aircraft can be interrogated or intercepted before entering sovereign airspace – in the East China Sea, many have speculated that it is only a matter of time before Beijing will impose one in the South China Sea as well.
But Antonio Carpio, a senior associate justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, said at a lecture at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that China was already effectively enforcing a quasi-ADIZ in the South China Sea. Any Philippine plane that flies over the Spratlys, Carpio explained, now receives a stern warning from China via radio to “stay away from the area.”
“They are in fact implementing an ADIZ over the Spratlys now,” Carpio said.
The quasi-ADIZ, Carpio said, was part of China’s grand design to control the South China Sea and the resources therein. Beijing’s behavior over the past few years, he argued – from the harassment of the fishing vessels from other claimant states to the building of artificial islands – clearly illustrates that it wants all the fisheries, oil, gas and mineral resources within the 9-dashed lines and intends to use the features it controls as strategic outposts for military advantage.