Taiwan will not recognize any air defense zone declared by Beijing over the South China Sea, the island’s new defense minister said on Monday.
“We will not recognize any ADIZ by China,” Feng Shih-kuan said in parliament, referring to potential declaration of a new air defense identification zone by Beijing.
The comments came amid concerns that an international court ruling expected in coming weeks on a case brought by the Philippines against China over its South China Sea claims could prompt Beijing to declare an ADIZ, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013, Reuters reported.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which US$5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.
China drew condemnation from Japan and the US when it imposed its ADIZ, in which aircraft are supposed to identify themselves to Chinese authorities, above the East China Sea.
Beijing has neither confirmed nor denied it plans such a zone for the South China Sea, saying that a decision would be based on the threat level and that it had every right to set one up.
“In the future, we don’t rule out China designating an ADIZ. If China is on track to announce this, it could usher in a new wave of tension in the region,” Taiwan’s National Security Bureau said in a report presented to parliament.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, asked whether China would set up an ADIZ for the South China Sea, said many factors need consideration, especially the level of threat faced in the air.
“Many countries have set up ADIZs. This has nothing to do with various countries’ territorial or maritime rights issues,” Reuters quoted Hong as saying at a daily news briefing Monday.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday that the US will consider a Chinese air defense zone over the South China Sea “provocative and destabilizing”.
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