Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that Japan’s allegations of Beijing’s plan to set up an air defense zone in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) is a means to shift international attention away from its planned militarization.
The spokesman said Japan’s reports that China plans to establish an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the West Philippine Sea, much like what it established in the disputed East China Sea, is Tokyo’s way of distracting the international community from the issue of its planned militarization.
A copy of his statement on state-owned Xinhua has been sent by the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
Japan is seemingly on the verge of expanding its military power and changing its pacifist Constitution, which has been demanded from it in the aftermath of the Second World War.
“We sternly warned these forces not to mislead public opinions with rumors and play up tensions for their own selfish benefit,” Hong said.
China dismissed these allegations over the weekend, and also expressed optimism over the disputes in the region.
“In a general view, the Chinese side has yet to feel any air security threat from the Asean countries and is optimistic about its relations with the neighboring countries and the general situation in the South China Sea region,” he added.
Asean is comprised of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Brunei Darussalam.
The Asahi Shimbun daily of Japan reported that China has drafted proposals for the Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea.
In the report, Hong said that China and Asean share a bright future for their relations.
He also stressed that China and the 10-member bloc are working together to implement the Declaration on the Conduct of parties in the South China Sea (DOC) “in a comprehensive and effective way to safeguard peace and stability in the region.”
He also reminded “relevant parties” to be “cautious about their words and deeds, maintain a calm and objective stance, make joint efforts with China and make concrete contribution to peace, stability and security in the air and on sea of the region.”
China, as a sovereign country, has all the legitimate rights to adopt all measures, including setting up and ADIZ, to safeguard national security in response to the situation of air security, Hong said.
He asked countries to stop making “irresponsible comments” on China’s actions in the disputed region.
The Philippines and China, along with Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei Darussalam, have competing claims in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea.
Japan, on the other hand, is also engaged with China in a territorial dispute over small, uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which Tokyo calls Senkaku and China refers to as Diaoyu.
Tokyo’s planned militarization has received the support of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, believing that a stronger Japan is advantageous for the Philippines.
The establishment of the ADIZ requires foreign air vessels to submit to China its flight plans. It also allows for the presence of Chinese vessels in monitoring and surveilling the developments in that region. BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON