Saturday, November 23, 2013
China bolsters East China Sea claim, warns of 'defensive measures'
Photo caption: A Chinese military plane Y-8 airborne early warning plane flies through airspace between Okinawa prefecture's main island and the smaller Miyako island in southern Japan, out over the Pacific, in this handout photo taken on October 27, 2013 by the Japan Air Self-Defence Force and released by the Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan. Reuters/Joint Staff Office of the Defense Ministry of Japan/Handout via Reuters
Reuters – Nov 23,2013
SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China on Saturday laid claim to a block of airspace over islands at the heart of a dispute with Japan in the East China Sea, threatening "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that do not comply with new identification rules.
The Xinhua news agency published a map and coordinates of the area It called "the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone" as well as Defense Ministry identification rules for aircraft in the area, which covers most of the Sea.
The rules are likely to anger Japan.
Ties between the Asian powers have been strained for months by the dispute over the islands, called the Diaoyu in China and the Senkaku in Japan, which are believed to be surrounded by energy-rich waters.
Patrol ships from both countries have been shadowing each other near the islets, raising fears that a confrontation could develop into a clash.
There have also been several incidents involving military aircraft flying close to each other. In October, Chinese military aircraft flew near Japan three days in a row, and Japan scrambled fighter jets each time in response.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry did not have any immediate comment about China's announcement.
The Chinese rules mean aircraft have to report flight plans to China's Foreign Ministry or civil aviation administration, maintain radio contact and reply promptly to identification inquiries, keep radar transponders turned on, and bear clear markings of their nationality and registration.
The Defence Ministry said it was the "administrative organ" for the zone, Xinhua said.
"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," it said, adding the rules came into force on Saturday.
(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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