MANILA: Japan’s defense minister said Saturday that China’s recently declared maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea raises regional tensions and that the international community must oppose any move to establish a similar zone over the South China Sea.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters after meeting with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin that he and Gazmin discussed reports that China is considering establishing a similar zone over the South China Sea.
“Any unilateral establishment of an ADIZ in any area would bring up tensions over the area. Therefore we have concerns over such development,” Onodera said through an interpreter.
When asked to comment about concerns about China possibly setting up a zone over the South China Sea, China’s ambassador to the Philippines, Ma Keqing, said Monday that it was China’s right to decide “where and when to set up” an air identification zone. She would not say, however, whether China would set up a zone over the South China Sea.
Onodera said China’s unilateral establishment of the air zone and demand for all commercial flights passing through it to submit flight plans in advance violate the spirit of the International Civil Aviation Organization treaty.
He said Japan will oppose the setting up of a similar zone over the South China Sea. “I think the world shares the same understanding that regional tensions should not be raised by that course of action,” he said.