"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.
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.
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.