US ‘concerned’ over China’s air defense zone

MANILA, Dec. 2 (PNA) –The United States has expressed concern over China’s recent move to impose an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over disputed waters in the East China Sea saying it may create tensions with countries in the area.

“The United States has expressed its concern, both through the Chinese directly but through the media, and in every other way about this step taken by the Chinese government to declare an ADIZ,” said US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg at a media briefing in Malacanang after he presented his credentials to President Benigno Aquino III.

“We don’t believe this move is to build confidence but instead will create tension and the possibility of miscalculations and that’s never good especially in an area where we know that, whether it’s over the Senkakus or here in the Southeast Asia, and the South China Sea are difficult issues,” he said.

The ADIZ covers a vast area of the East China Sea, including a group of islands claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan.

The establishment of the ADIZ has caused widespread anger among countries in the region. The Philippines, which is one of the claimant countries in the West Philippine Sea territorial row against China, has also opposed the ADIZ.

Goldberg said it expects US civilian aircraft to observe China’s rules in an air defense zone.

“As for the question about commercial versus military aircraft, let me say that, we take a very different position even if we don’t believe ADIZ is warranted. The US does not impose any ADIZ on aircraft that are not entering US airspace,” he added.

“We can’t take chances of miscalculations so we’ve recommended to our commercial airlines to give such notifications, so that’s where difference is between military and commercial,” he said.

He said the US believes in free navigation, “whether it’s in the air or in the sea.”

“We’ll continue to press those beliefs and we will support the peaceful and legal, diplomatic efforts underway to resolve tensions,” he said.

“We don’t take sides, we’re not a claimant state on any of these territorial features but at the same time we strongly support the countries of this region coming together for a code of conduct, which will help set the rules of the road or the rules of the sea. It will be a way for tensions to decrease,” he added. (PNA)