Amid escalating tensions after a UN-backed international tribunal struck down China’s claims over the strategic South China Sea, China on Wednesday said if threatened, Beijing could draw up an air defense identification zone over South China Sea.
In fact, China reiterated that it ‘has the right’ to set up Air Defence Identification Zone in South China Sea.
“The Chinese navy can operate in South China Sea at any time as the area belongs to China. Certain country has sent
aircraft carrier fleet to the South China Sea,” Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said.
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“We do not recognise or implement the award. We hope it is only a white paper and it will not be enforced. Just dump it into garbage or put it in a shelf or put it in archives and let us come back to the track of negotiations,” he said.
The Hague-based court has said that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights. It said China has caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment” by building artificial islands. But China rejected the verdict deeming it ‘null and void’.
In response to the verdict, China on Wednesday released a white paper insisting that Beijing has claims over the strategic region for 2,000 years. The core of the relevant disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea lies in the territorial issues caused by the Philippines’ invasion and illegal occupation by force, starting in the 1970s, of some islands and reefs of China’s Nansha Qundao (the Nansha Islands), it said.
“The Philippines has concocted many excuses to cover up this fact, and to pursue its territorial pretencions,” said the document, titled “China Adheres to the Position of Settling Through Negotiation the Relevant Disputes Between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea.”
(With inputs from PTI)