China reserves the right to establish an Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea, a move that would raise tensions in a region wracked by territorial disputes.
“China is entitled to set up ADIZs,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday. “A decision in this regard depends on whether the air safety is threatened and to what extent it is threatened.”
Seven Philippine patrol planes on separate flights over the Spratly islands in the South China Sea have been warned by China in radio messages to stay away, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported, citing testimony by Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez at a Senate hearing Thursday. In November 2013, China established an ADIZ to cover disputed islands in the adjacent East China Sea, prompting protests from Japan and its treaty ally, the U.S.