US opposes China air defense zone

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The United States has expressed concerns about China’s plan to establish an air defense zone over a string of disputed islands in the East China Sea.

US opposes China air defense zone

The Chinese Defense Ministry on Saturday issued a map of an East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone that includes disputed islands also claimed by Japan.

“This unilateral action constitutes an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement released Saturday. “Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident.”

Beijing’s decision also triggered a protest from Tokyo. Junichi Ihara, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry’s Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, said the announcement is “totally unacceptable.”

China said all aircraft must notify Chinese authorities and are subject to emergency military measures if they do not identify themselves. The country warned that it would “identify, monitor, control and react” to any air threats. The rules went into effect Saturday.

In his statement, Kerry urged China “not to implement its threat to take action against aircraft that do not identify themselves.”

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel also said Saturday the US was “deeply concerned” over China’s move.

“We view this development as a destabilizing attempt to alter the status quo in the region,” Hagel said in a statement. “This unilateral action increases the risk of misunderstanding and miscalculations.”

Hagel, however, added the map will have no effect on how the United States conducts military operations in the region.

Beijing said the zone is in line with the practice of other nations that have similar zones to protect their coasts. “This is a necessary measure taken by China in exercising its self-defense right,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said.

“It is not directed against any specific country or target. It does not affect the freedom of over-flight in the related airspace,” the spokesman added.

Source: presstv.ir

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