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China in full control of air defence zone
Publication Date : 27-12-2013
The Chinese military had identified about 800 military flights from foreign countries and regions in its newly established Air Defence Identification Zone by December 22, a Ministry of National Defence spokesman said on Thursday.
At a monthly news briefing, Geng Yansheng said China has exercised effective control over the zone in the East China Sea since it was established on November 23.
Fifty-six airlines from 23 countries and regions reported plans for 21,475 flights, Geng said.
To safeguard air security, the Chinese army launched 87 flights in 51 groups consisting of reconnaissance planes, early warning aircraft and fighter jets to conduct routine patrols and urgent identification tasks, Geng said.
"China will respond to each different air threat as the situation requires to safeguard its air space security," he said.
China set up its first air defence identification zone in accordance with Chinese law and international practices.
An ADIZ is a defensive area of air space established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace to allow timely identification, monitoring, control and reaction to potential air threats. It allows time for early warnings and provides air security, military experts said.
"The figures indicate that Beijing has been able to control the ADIZ since it was established," said Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies.
"That shows that the mechanism of the East China Sea ADIZ is effective for safeguarding China's sovereignty, and protecting territorial land and air security".
Xing Hongbo, a military researcher, said there was a need for China to set up such a zone to remove possible risks because the number of flights over the area has sharply increased in recent years.
"Setting up the zone is an action taken to better maintain normal flight order in the region," Xing said.
According to experts, countries such as Japan have frequently sent military planes in recent years to track and monitor Chinese military aircraft conducting normal exercises and patrols above the East China Sea, which could add to the possibility of conflict in the region.
In announcing it had established the zone, Beijing issued a chart and related aircraft identification rules, under which aircraft flying in the zone must provide means of identification including flight plans, radio and transponder frequencies and logo.
The rules also require such aircraft to follow the instructions of the zone's administrator or its authorised representative. China's armed forces will take defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in identification or refuse to follow the instructions.
"If all parties coordinate with each other well, the zone will help improve flight security in the region," Xing said.
Referring to an encounter between naval vessels of China and the United States this month, Geng said the captains of the ships contacted each other directly to quickly solve the issue.
Geng said China and the US militaries have various mechanisms to communicate, including defence consultations and working meetings between the defence ministries, consultations on maritime issues between both militaries and direct phone channels between the defence ministries.
A Chinese navy warship on a regular patrol mission again encountered a US naval vessel in the South China Sea several days ago. The Chinese warship handled the situation strictly according to operational procedures, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
The defence authorities of both countries reported information to each other via normal channels and communicated effectively about the encounter, the statement said.
The statement said some media reports that play up the "conflict between China and the US militaries" are untrue, stressing that the Chinese and US armed forces have an opportunity to develop their relations and both sides are willing to enhance exchanges, practice closer coordination and make efforts to maintain regional peace and stability.