• Don’t jeopardize regional security, Beijing told

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    The Philippines has warned China not to endanger the security in Asia by setting up an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea.)

    The country, along with the United States (US), Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, have taken China to task for establishing an air defense zone in the East China Sea. On Monday, US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg warned that Beijing’s move could result in “miscalculations” and escalate tensions in the region.

    The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it would not comment on Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing’s statement that Beijing was considering establishing a similar air defense zone in the West Philippine Sea.

    But DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said the Chinese ADIZ in the East China Sea “transforms an entire air zone into its domestic airspace, infringes on the freedom of flight in international airspace and compromises the safety of civil aviation and national security of affected states.”

    “We have called on China to ensure that its actions should not jeopardize regional security and stability,” Hernandez added.

    On Monday, Ma was quoted as saying that the establishment of an air defense zone is within Beijing’s rights and that other regions can set up their own zones if they wanted.

    Beijing has been swatting concerns from the international community after it announced an air defense zone in the East China Sea, which covers a chain of islands claimed by Beijing and Tokyo.

    Japan protested the move as it infringes on their own air defense zone in the region.
    An ally of Japan, the United States flew two B-52 bombers through the area, although Washington was clear that it did not mean to exhibit its military strength against the regional superpower.

    It described the flights as a training mission, although analysts said US was clear in its message that it will not recognize the new territorial claims Beijing imposed over the weekend.

    On Wednesday, US Vice President Joe Biden, who was in Beijing, raised concerns over the Chinese air zone ramping up regional tensions.

    At a joint press conference Tuesday with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Biden said he would raise Washington’s concerns over the air zone “in great specificity . . . when I meet with the Chinese leadership.”

    “We, the United States, are deeply concerned by the attempt to unilaterally change the status quo in the East China Sea,” Biden said.

    A US official said it was especially important “that we continue to amplify our messages that we are and always will be there for our allies,” adding that “there is a way for two major powers, in the US and China, to build a different kind of relationship for the 21st century.”

    Ahead of Biden’s trip, a senior US official in Washington said he would also discuss wider concerns “to make the broader point that there’s an emerging pattern of behavior by China that is unsettling to China’s own neighbors and raising questions about how China operates in international space and how China deals with areas of disagreement with its neighbors.”

    With A Report From AFP

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