Chinese fighter pilot issues warning to foreign aircraft in East China Sea air identification zone
- ‘Report your nationality and purpose’, pilot instructs crew of unidentified plane
- Beijing declared ADIZ over disputed sea in 2013, but US, Japan and South Korea do not recognise it
A Chinese jet fighter engaged a foreign aircraft recently after it was spotted inside China’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea, state media reported.
In a video clip shown by China Central Television on Friday, the pilot of the Chinese plane is heard speaking in English to the crew of the unidentified aircraft.
“This is China air force,” he said. “You have entered the Chinese ADIZ. Report your nationality ID and purpose of the flight.”
The report did not say when the encounter took place or how the foreign plane responded to the message.
Air defence identification zones comprise airspace over land or water in which the identification, location and control of aircraft is performed in the interests of national security. The concept, however, is not defined in any international treaty or regulated by any international body.
Beijing declared an ADIZ over the East China Sea in 2013 in a move designed to boost its claims to the disputed waterway, which is also claimed by Japan.
China increased its naval and air force patrols in the area after Japan bought three islands in the Diaoyu chain (or Senkaku as it is known in Tokyo) in the East China Sea in 2012.
Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force said it needed the islands so it could more easily scramble fighter jets to intercept Chinese military aircraft flying over the disputed waters.
China’s declaration of the ADIZ triggered protests from several nations, including Japan, South Korea and the United States, all of which refused to recognise it.
Tokyo said the rules set by the Chinese military violated the freedom to fly above open seas and had no validity in Japan.
Last month, Seoul issued a complaint to Beijing after a People’s Liberation Army plane, believed to be a Y-9 type reconnaissance aircraft, entered South Korea’s air defence identification zone.
Fighter jets were scrambled to track the aircraft, which was also issued with a warning message.
Analysts said the reconnaissance flight was most likely intended to give Beijing a better understanding of military activity in the region, after the US recently flew B-52 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons over the South and East China seas.