China’s Defence Ministry denounced as gesticulation on Thursday speculation it would declare an air defense zone over the disputed South China Sea, after the United States said it had told China it would not recognize one.
U.S. officials have expressed concern 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 China to declare an air defense identification zone, or ADIZ, as it did over the East China Sea in 2013.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work said on Wednesday the U.S. would view such a move as “destabilizing” and would not recognize such an exclusion zone in the South China Sea, just as it did not recognize the one China established over the East China Sea.
Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun, asked about Work’s remarks, said any sovereign state had the right to set up an ADIZ.
“On this, there is no need for other countries to gesticulate,” Yang told a monthly news briefing.
“Whether or not or when to set up an air defense identification zone depends on whether there is an aerial threat or the level of aerial threat. It needs many considerations,” he added, without elaborating. Read More