Beijing praises US move on passenger flight plans in East China Sea

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 4:55am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 December, 2013, 10:34am

Beijing has praised the United States and other countries that have advised their own airlines to comply with the new air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea.

But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticised Tokyo for "politicising" the Chinese zone, saying that Japan's attitude was not conducive to ensuring the necessary co-operation between the two countries on civil aviation.

Beijing's unilateral announcement on November 23 that it had created the zone over a large swathe of the East China Sea has angered Tokyo and Washington, as well as Taipei and Seoul.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defence has demanded that all aircraft submit flight plans when traversing the zone, which covers the Diaoyu Islands. The uninhabited islands - called the Senkakus in Japan - are claimed by Beijing, Tokyo and Taipei.

"China has communicated with the relevant countries over the ADIZ … and urges them to understand China's legitimate security concerns and right to self-defence," foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Hong dismissed as "hypocritical" remarks by Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera on Friday in which he said Tokyo would not accept Beijing's call for two-way discussions over airspace safety.

"Japan keeps saying it always leaves the door of dialogue open," Hong said. "But when it comes to real talk, they close the door."

Hong said the move by US airlines to submit flight applications to Chinese aviation authorities shows a "constructive attitude" needed to ensure flight safety and security, Xinhua reported.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese Defence Minister Yen Ming told parliament yesterday that the island's military planes had made "around 30 flights" into the air defence zone in the past week or so. Yen said that the Taiwanese air force would scramble planes should the mainland's aircraft enter the overlapping area, but none had done so as of yet.

On Friday, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, who has advocated increased ties with the mainland, lodged a belated protest over the zone.