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    Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.file photo

    China to Proceed With South China Sea Air Defense Zone Pending US Moves

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    Asia & Pacific
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    In case of the United States continues its "provocative" actions in the South China Sea, China is ready to proceed with installing its planned air defense identification zone, local media reported Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — China is ready to go ahead with installing its planned air defense identification zone in the South China Sea if the United States continues "provocative" activities in the disputed area, local media reported Wednesday, citing Chinese army sources.

    "If the US military keeps making provocative moves to challenge China’s sovereignty in the region, it will give Beijing a good opportunity to declare an ADIZ in the South China Sea," a source in the People’s Liberation Army was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post newspaper.

    In May, Beijing expressed discontent with a US warship sailing in the waters near the disputed Spratly archipelago, also known as the Nansha Islands, in the South China Sea.

    Previously, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the United States' concern over the possible deployment of China's air defense systems to the South China Sea. China had also announced a possible creation of an air defense identification zone in the region, while US defense officials have stated that it will not be recognized by the United States.

    China maintains that installing an air defense identification zone is within its right as a sovereign country.

    "Regarding when to declare such a zone, it will depend on whether China is facing security threats from the air, and what the level of the air safety threat is," the Chinese Defense Ministry told the South China Morning Post in a written reply regarding the issue.

    In 2013, China implemented an identification zone over the East China Sea, another region disputed among east Asian countries, requiring all aircraft passing through the area to declare their route.

    The South China Sea contains a number of disputed islands. The Paracel Islands are controlled by China while being claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. The Spratly Islands are contested by China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia. In the East China Sea, China, Japan and South Korea are locked in a dispute over exclusive economic zones and the use of maritime resources.

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    Tags:
    zone, provocations, disputed islands, air defense, military, South China Sea, China, United States
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