China warns of air zone over South China Sea

The US Navy shows a flight formation of Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Philippine Sea.
The US Navy shows a flight formation of Boeing F/A-18E and F Super Hornets from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Philippine Sea.PHOTO: AFP

China has said it has the right to declare an air defence identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea if its security is under threat, a day after an arbitral tribunal ruled against its maritime claims in the vital waterway.

However, Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin also said China's goal is not to turn the contested waters - where China has overlapping claims with four Asean states and Taiwan - into a "source of war". Instead, it wanted it to be a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

In a press statement yesterday announcing the release of a White Paper on China's dispute with the Philippines in the sea, Mr Liu also accused the five judges of the UN-backed tribunal at The Hague of taking money from Manila.

Apart from the rhetoric, China yesterday also conducted test flights, with civilian aircraft, from the island province of Hainan to airfields on the Mischief Reef and Zhubi Reef in the disputed Spratlys.

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'China warns of air zone over S. China Sea'. Print Edition | Subscribe