China sets air defence zone over disputed islands with Japan
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 15:25
  
Beijing: China on Saturday established an air defence zone over disputed islands administered by Japan, a move that can exasperate tensions between the two countries.

Defence Ministry announced the establishment of East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone which comes into operation from today. It warned that the aircraft flying over the area should seek permission failing which they are liable for action, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The zone includes the airspace within the area enclosed by China's outer limit of the territorial sea, it said specifying boundaries in the East China Sea, where the uninhabited disputed islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan were located.

If enforced strictly the new Chinese law could spark off major military tensions with Japan, which has been administering the group if islets believed to be rich with minerals and hydro carbons.

China stepped up its protests over Japanese control from September last year after Tokyo bought the islets from a private Japanese party, which Beijing said amounted to nationalisation of the islands and pressed its fleet of war ships to patrol aggressively with that of Japanese patrols.

Currently the coastguard ships of both the countries aggressively patrol the waters of the islands everyday warning each other while blaring their sovereignty claims over their communication systems.

So far, China has avoided press air patrols to aggressively counter the Japanese air surveillance.

Observers say that the new law will take the dispute to a new level, creating new round of tensions as Japan too is aggressively gearing up for to militarily defend its claims of sovereignty over the islands.

The move came as the two countries tried to defuse tensions through back door diplomacy to protect about USD 345 billion bilateral trade.

Under the new set of Chinese rules aircraft flying in the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone must should report the flight plans to the Chinese Foreign Ministry or the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The aircraft flying "must maintain the two-way radio communications, and respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries," by the concerned Chinese organs, the announcement carried by Xinhua said.

The aircraft should follow the relevant Chinese authority.

"China's armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions," the announcement said warning of action against those who refuse to obey the instructions.

PTI

First Published: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 15:19


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