China to set up ADIZ in South China Sea

Philippines currently the only nation with designated air defense identification zone in disputed region

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Defense Minister Yen Te-fa

Defense Minister Yen Te-fa (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of National Defense (MND) on Monday morning (May 4) confirmed that China is planning to set up an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea.

An ADIZ is a country's airspace in which all civilian aircraft must identify themselves and announce their location.

The MND clarified Monday night that although China has stated that it would establish an ADIZ in the South China Sea, it has yet to formally announce one. The Philippines’ ADIZ is currently the only designated airspace in the disputed region, CNA reported.

The ministry stressed that an ADIZ is usually set by a country according to its national defense needs but that it has no basis in international law.

Defense Minister Yen Te-fa (嚴德發) and National Security Director Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正) attended the Legislative Yuan's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee’s Goodwill Fleet epidemic investigation conference Monday morning to give a briefing. During the meeting, Wen Yu-hsia (溫玉霞), a legislator of the Kuomintang, asked how many air defense identification zones there were around Taiwan.

Referring to China's planned ADIZ, Yen replied, "There are two identification zones: one in the East China Sea and one in the South China Sea." The MND pointed out that evening that Taiwan also has an ADIZ, in addition to Japan’s and the Philippines’.