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Defense Ministry spokesman responds to air defense identification zone questions


Xinhua | 2013-11-23 16:33:33

China's Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun on Saturday answered questions from the media on the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone.

1. Why did the Chinese government set up the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone? Was it related to the current regional situation?

An air defense identification zone is established by a maritime nation to guard against potential air threats. This airspace, demarcated outside the territorial airspace, allows a country to identify, monitor, control and dispose of entering aircraft. It sets aside time for early warning and helps defend the country's airspace.

The Chinese government has followed common international practices in the establishment of the zone, with aims of protecting its state sovereignty and territorial and airspace security, and maintaining flying orders. It is a necessary measure in China's exercise of self-defense rights. It has no particular target and will not affect the freedom of flight in relevant airspace.

2. On what grounds did China establish the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone?

The establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone has a sound legal basis and accords with common international practices.

Since the 1950s, over 20 countries, including some big powers and China's neighboring countries, have set up air defense identification zones.

China's measures conform to the Charter of the United Nations and international laws and practices. China's domestic laws and regulations, including the Law on National Defense, the Law on Civil Aviation and the Basic Rules on Flight, have clear stipulations on protecting territorial and airspace security and maintaining flying orders.

3. How was the domain of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone determined? Why is the zone located as close as 130 kilometers from some countries?

The domain of the zone is based on the needs of China's national air defense and maintaining flying orders.

The east end of the zone is still closest to China (compared with other countries), from which combat aircraft can reach China's airspace within a short time. It is necessary for China to identify an aircraft from that point to ascertain its purpose and attributes, so as to set aside early warning time to adopt measures to protect air defense security.

Moveover, a relevant country established its air defense identification zone as early as 1969, which is also about 130 kilometers from the Chinese mainland at its closest distance.

4. After foreign aircraft enter the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, what measures will China adopt?

The Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People's Republic of China has made explicit stipulations on the identification of the aircraft in relevant airspace, and that is in line with international practices.

China will take timely measures to deal with air threats and unidentified flying objects from the sea, including identification, monitoring, control and disposition, and it hopes all relevant sides positively cooperate and jointly maintain flying safety.

It is worth mentioning that China has always respected other countries' rights of free flight in accordance with international laws, and the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone will not change the legal nature of relevant airspace. The normal flight of international flights in the zone will not be affected.

5. Will China establish other air defense identification zones?

China will establish other air defense identification zones at an appropriate time after completing preparations.

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