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Defense Ministry Spokesman Yang Yujun's Response to Questions of ADIZ at Regular Press Conference

(November 28, 2013)

Q: After China announced the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, the Japanese authorities and media claimed that this is a unilateral move by China to change the status quo and may cause unexpected events in the air and at sea, so it is a very dangerous move. What is your comment?

According to Japanese media, after the announcement that China has established the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, Japanese leaders said that Japan, together with the United States government and international community, requested that China withdraw the Air Defense Identification Zone, what is your comment?

A: It is completely legitimate for China to set up the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. Japan always tries to tarnish the image of others while refusing to conduct soul-search itself. In disregard of China's strong opposition, Japan announced the so-called purchase of the Diaoyu Islands in September last year. In recent years, Japan frequently scrambled military aircraft and ships to follow and monitor Chinese aircraft and ships conducting routine navigation and training, which severely hampered the freedom of navigation and flight. A naval ship of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces intruded into the pre-designated exercise area of the Chinese PLA Navy in the open sea and severely disrupted the exercise. Japan is also expanding its military might with various excuses attempting to change the international order after the World War II. The Japanese government often sensationalizes the so-call "China threat" and openly creates confrontation. I think it is obvious for the international community to come to a conclusion as to who is trying to change the current state of affairs and create regional tensions and who is trying to damage the regional security situation.

Japan set up its own air defense identification zone as early as 1969. Japan has no right to point fingers at China's establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. If we talk about the withdrawal of the air defense identification zone, we'll ask Japan to do it first and China will consider withdrawing its air defense identification zone 44 years later.

Q: It is reported that if a foreign airplane enters the air defense identification zone of another country, the country has the right to shoot it down. Is this judgment right?

A: I'd like to make further clarification on the issue of the air defense identification zone. The air defense identification zone is not the territorial air space. Rather, it is an area demarked outside the territorial air space to set aside early warning time so as to ensure the protection of air security. Therefore, to set up an air defense identification zone does not mean the expansion of the territorial air space, however, it helps to improve the effectiveness of safeguarding the territorial air space of a country. According to international laws and common international practices, foreign aircraft can enter the air defense identification zone of other countries. Meanwhile, the country that sets up the air defense identification zone has the right to identify the entering aircraft, judge their purposes and attributes, and respond to them according to different situations and different threat levels. Therefore, the interpretation you just mentioned doesn't hold water.

Q: Since the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of China and the so-called Japanese Air Defense Identification Zone have overlapped, how will you consider the oil-gas field in the East China Sea which is located inside the overlapping area?

A: China and Japan are separated by sea. Due to the special geological environment, it is inevitable that the air defense identification zones (ADIZ) of the two countries are overlapped. We hope in the overlapping area, the two countries can strengthen communication and jointly maintain flying orders. As to the oil-gas field in the East China Sea, please refer to relevant government departments.

Q: At the request of the Japanese government, two Japanese commercial airlines have stopped submitting flight plans to Chinese authorities. It is reported that the U.S. is considering whether the American airlines should make flight report to China when entering the East China Sea ADIZ. If foreign commercial airliners do not submit their flight plans beforehand enter the East China Sea ADIZ, what kind of measure can China take?

It was reported yesterday that two U.S. B-52 bombers flew over the East China Sea ADIZ. Does the Chinese side regard this is a provocative act and an act that unilaterally changes the status quo? If in the future, Japanese aircraft also do the same thing, what kind of response will the Chinese military take?

A: The Announcement on the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People's Republic of China makes clear stipulations on aircraft identification in relevant air space. This is in line with the international practices. It is worth mentioning that China has always respected the freedom of flight enjoyed by all the countries in accordance with the international law. The establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ does not change the legal status of relevant air space and routine international flights will not be affected in anyway. We hope relevant sides can cooperate positively with China and jointly maintain flight safety.

As to the second question, yesterday the spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense already responded to a similar question. In the East China Sea ADIZ, to deal with air threats and identify flying objects, we will take such measures including identifying, monitoring and controlling, and react based on different situations and the level of threat. As to the specific measures to be taken, it depends upon the situation and the level of threat. I'd like to stress that to all the aircraft entering the East China Sea ADIZ, the Chinese side has identified them in a timely manner and we have full knowledge of these aircraft.

Q: Why does China choose this time to announce the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, since Japan set up its air defense identification zone 44 years ago?

A: The recent announcement of the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone is decided by the progress of related work.

Q: Does the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone imply that the military is going to play an important role in the affairs in relevant area so that if anything happens around the Diaoyu Islands, the military can respond quickly?

A: In accordance with the international law and common international practices, China has set up the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone. It is for the purpose of safeguarding territorial and air space security. It is also a necessary measure for China to effectively exercise its right to self defense.

Q: Besides the East China Sea ADIZ, will China establish more air defense identification zones in the future, for example, the South China Sea ADIZ?

A: The spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense and the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to this question on several occasions. After relevant preparation, China will set up other air defense identification zones at an appropriate time.

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