A decision on establishing China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in disputed waters of the South China Sea should be based on an assessment of the security situation in the region, according to a senior Chinese military official.
Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, said that establishing China's Air Defense Identification Zone in disputed waters of the South China Sea will depend on the region's security situation.
Speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, he stated that China's actions were peaceful and legitimate, warning other countries against trying to "sow discord" over the matter.
"There is no reason for people to play up this issue in the South China Sea," Sun said, adding that the creation of the ADIZ hinges on any threats to air or maritime security.
He rejected recent remarks by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who said that Beijing's land reclamation projects in the disputed waters around the Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea allegedly boost the risk of "miscalculation or conflict" and is out of step with international rule.
An aerial file photo taken though a glass window of a Philippine military plane shows the alleged land reclamation by China on Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, west of Palawan, Philippines, May 11, 2015
"We hope relevant countries will work together in the same direction to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and co-operation", Sun added.
China's ongoing land reclamation work around the Spratly islands finally led to speculation about the country creating the ADIZ, which may stipulate that overflying aircraft identify themselves to Chinese authorities. Washington claims that it would allegedly ride roughshod over freedom of navigation and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Apart from China, the Spratlys are claimed by half a dozen countries, including Malaysia, Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam. Neither Japan nor the United States have any territorial claims in the South China Sea.
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