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Beijing denies South China Sea Air Defense plan.

Manila, Philippines --- China has categorically denied allegations that it is planning to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea wherein it is locked in a lingering territorial dispute with the Philippines and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries.

China, instead, blamed Japan for fueling such reports.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei, China does not see "any air security threat from the ASEAN countries."

China is "optimistic about its relations with the neighboring countries and the general situation in the South China Sea region," Hong said.

Reports that came out last week alleged that China has drafted proposals for the ADIZ to be established over the disputed South China Sea, similar to what it did in the East China Sea last year.

During a press briefing held in Beijing over the weekend, a transcript of which was provided by the Chinese Embassy in Manila to the local press, Hong said the right-wing forces of Japan have repeatedly clamored about the alleged plan of China to set up ADIZ over the South China Sea.

He said the allegations has an "ulterior motive" which is "to shift international attention from and cover up the plot to change Japan's pacifist constitution and expand its military power."

"We sternly warned these forces not to mislead public opinions with rumors and play up tensions for their own selfish benefit," Hong said.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry official, China and ASEAN share a bright future for their relations as both sides are working together to implement the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea "in a comprehensive and effective way to safeguard peace and stability in the region."

In response to reports about United States officials' comments on the issue, Hong said China hopes the relevant parties "remain cautious about their words and deeds, maintain a calm and objective stance, make joint efforts with China and make concrete contribution to peace, stability and security in the air and on sea of the region."

China, as a sovereign country, has all the legitimate rights to adopt all measures, including setting up ADIZ, to safeguard national security in response to the situation of air security, he added.

"No one should make irresponsible comments on this," Hong said.

Beijing announced last December that it has established an ADIZ in an area in East China Sea that is also claimed by Japan and Taiwan as their own.

The disputed islands--known as Diaoyu to China, Senkaku to Japan and Diaoyutai to Taiwan--are located roughly due east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands.

Beijing's decision to impose a new ADIZ in the region will mean Japanese and Taiwanese aircraft flying over the disputed islands will now have to obey Chinese rules or be subject to what China calls "defensive emergency measures."

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:0PACI
Date:Feb 3, 2014
Words:491
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