The Washington Times on December 8, 2013, published an AP report on Japan’s defense minister calling on the international community Sunday to oppose China’s recently declared maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea and possibly over the disputed South China Sea. Excerpts below:
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera discussed Japan’s concern over China’s action separately with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop. Onodera and Bishop separately visited central Tacloban city, which was ruined by Typhoon Haiyan last month.
“If any country would establish a similar air zone in the South China Sea, that would bring up tension in the region and I mentioned that should be stopped,” he told reporters in Tacloban, where he visited a school serving as a shelter for villagers who lost their homes in the Nov. 8 typhoon.
He said that the issue should be resolved by dialogue.
The United States, Australia, South Korea and other countries have also expressed alarm over China’s new air identification zone. Beijing says all aircraft entering the vast area must identify themselves and follow Chinese instructions.
Onodera said that China’s unilateral action violates the spirit of the International Civil Aviation Organization treaty.