Will Beijing Declare a Special Air Defense Zone Over the South China Sea?


Beijing may replicate the controversial special air defense zone it unilaterally declared over the East China Sea in another disputed region — the vast South China Sea — in a bid to shore up its military strategy that could escalate tensions and intensify U.S.-China rivalry, experts say.

The controversial East China Sea air defense identification zone (ADIZ), announced more than two weeks ago, requires all aircraft entering the area which overlaps with similar zones established by neighbors Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan to notify Chinese authorities beforehand or face unspecified defensive measures.

Ignoring protests from the United States and its close allies Japan and South Korea against the policy, Chinese officials have indicated that the zone could be extended to the South China Sea, where Beijing has overlapping territorial claims with five nations — Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

Beijing’s envoy to the Philippines Ma Keqing was quoted saying last week that China has the right to set up ADIZs in other contested areas while a Chinese defense ministry spokesman said new zones would be established “at an appropriate time after completing preparations.”


Read more: http://www.rfa.org/english/commentaries/east-asia-beat/sea-12102013211631.html