China: No plans for SEA air zone


TAIPEI – China has no plans of establishing an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea, a ranking Taiwanese official said Monday, citing an assurance from Beijing.

Chu-Chia Lin, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), told an international group of reporters here that China’s assurance came after Taipei asked Beijing not to establish an ADIZ over the South China Sea.

Lin said an ADIZ reportedly being planned by China would cover Taiping Island (also known as Itu Aba or Ligaw), the largest island in the Spratly group currently occupied by Taiwanese forces.

“They said so far they have no intention to put ADIZ in South China Sea,” said Lin.

Beijing imposed last year an air defense zone over the East China Sea, particularly over areas it disputes with Japan.

Relations between China and Taiwan are generally tense, but high-level government-to-government talks earlier this month have raised hopes for warmer ties.

“When mainland China first put ADIZ in East China Sea, we immediately issued our protest… Mainland China said the ADIZ (in East China Sea) is not aiming for Taiwan,” said the Taiwanese official.

Earlier reports from Japan said China was planning to establish a similar air defense zone over the South China Sea, where several nations – including the Philippines and China – have overlapping claims over atolls, reefs, and islets that were believed to be rich in mineral resources,

The United States has expressed concern over Beijing actions, saying they could heighten tension in the region.


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