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'Air-defence zone not to affect freedom of overflights'

IANS  |  Beijing 

China Wednesday said its Air Defence Identification Zone over the East China Sea is not a "no-fly zone" and will not affect the "freedom of overflights".

In a statement, Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Geng Yansheng said the zone "is not a country's territorial airspace but an international airspace demarcated outside the territorial airspace for the purpose of identification and early warning".

China Nov 23 established the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone, which includes the disputed Diaoyu Islands (known in Japan as Senkaku Islands).

It announced that aircraft flying in the zone must abide by these rules or "the armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions".

"Some people take the air-defence zone to be a territorial airspace by falsely saying that China violates other countries' interests; some equate the air-defence zone with a no-fly zone, accusing China of severely undermining the freedom of overflight," the statement said.

"Both statements are incorrect," it added.

It said the zone was established to set aside enough time for early warning to defend the country's airspace, with defence acting as the key point and it "does not aim at any specific country or target, nor does it constitute a threat to any country or region".

The spokesperson stated that Chinese military was fully capable of exercising effective control over the zone.

"Some people doubt China's monitoring capabilities in the East China Sea ADIZ. The Chinese military's determination and volition to safeguard the security of national territory and territorial airspace are unwavering, and the military is fully capable of exercising effective control over the East China Sea air defence zone."

"Military planes can also take flight if necessary to identify entering targets."

The statement said that China is not special to ask other countries to report flight plans to the zone demarcators and that many countries require aircraft flying over their air defence identification zones to report flight plans beforehand.

The row over the disputed islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan, has left ties between Beijing and Tokyo highly tense.

"Since September 2012, Japan has been making trouble over territorial disputes, staging a farce by announcing that it would "purchase" the Diaoyu Islands, frequently sending vessels and planes to disturb Chinese ships and planes in normal exercises or training, openly making provocative remarks such as shooting down Chinese drones, playing up the so-called China threat..."

"Japan's actions have seriously harmed China's legitimate rights and security interests, and undermined the peace and stability in east Asia. China has to take necessary reactions," the statement said.

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First Published: Wed, December 04 2013. 12:00 IST