China on Thursday dismissed reports that it was planning a “no-fly zone” over the disputed South China Sea, saying it was a “large-scale fabrication” by the Japanese media. “The deployment of armaments on southern China’s Hainan Island is within the country’s sovereign right and the so- called no-fly zone is entirely fabricated by Japanese media,” Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson with the Ministry of National Defence, said.
Ren made the remarks in response to a question on a Japanese report that China is apparently beginning to build a no-fly zone in the South China Sea, for the deployment of a HQ-9 surface-to-air missile air defence system on Hainan Island. “I was surprised at the large scale of the fabrication,” Ren said. China claims sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims. Ties between China and Japan have been strained by a territorial row over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China.
China has imposed a no-fly zone around the islands. In response to a question on the Diaoyu islands, Ren said the Diaoyu island and its affiliated islets are China’s inherent territory since ancient times, and China’s official activities were within the country’s sovereignty. “China’s armed forces will fully monitor Japan’s relative activities and take necessary measures,” Ren added.