Beijing: In the first such incident after establishing the controversial air defence identification zone over East China Sea in 2013, China today said it had rejected permission for a Lao Airlines passenger plane to fly through the "Chinese airspace" for not complying with the rules.
Confirming the incident, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Col Yang Yujun told a media briefing here today that the Lao Airlines flight from South Korea tried to fly though the "Chinese airspace" on July 25 without obtaining proper permission from Chinese aviation authorities.
The Lao Airlines application to fly through the area was not clear and efforts to get contact were not successful, he said.
Permission was rejected by Chinese authorities when it tried to fly through the airspace, he said.
"This event has no connection with the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea", he said but at the same time has not specified the route it tried to take.
China has established ADIZ over the East China Sea in 2013, a move rejected by US, Japan and South Korea.
The ADIZ was established close to the disputed Islands called Senkakus by Japan and Diaouyu Islands by China.
According to reports, the Lao Airlines flight reportedly returned to South Korea.
This is the first time a commercial airline has been turned back after the establishment of the ADIZ.
Yang also defended the drills in the disputed South China Sea by the Chinese military involving over 100 naval vessels and dozens of aircraft saying that they were routine drills and not directed against a third country.
China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea. Beijing's claim is strongly contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.