'China plan' for SCS defense zone to upend rules-based order —PACAFBy MICHAELA DEL CALLAR
America’s Pacific Air Force commander has warned that China’s reported plan to establish an air defense zone in the disputed South China Sea (SCS) would disrupt international rules-based order.
At a teleconference with journalists on Wednesday, Gen. Charles Brown, Jr., current Pacific Air Forces Commander (PACAF), said a Chinese-imposed Air Defense Identification Zone or ADIZ in the South China Sea – one of the world's most vital commercial and strategic waterways – would impede freedom of navigation and overflights.
“If the PRC [People's Republic of China] were to claim an ADIZ in the South China Sea, it impacts all of the nations…and it actually goes against…a free and open Indo-Pacific is to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,” said Brown, who was recently named as the next US Air Force Chief of Staff.
An ADIZ by China over the South China China Sea, would mean almost 90 percent of marine area, where the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have overlapping claims, would fall under Beijing’s domestic control, restricting freedom of navigation and overflights in the waters where a bulk of global trade pass.
News reports this month said China is planning to impose an ADIZ over the waters, including the Spratlys and the Paracels.
“It really goes against the rules-based international order, and that’s concerning not only for PACAF and the United States, but I would say many of the nations in the region,” Brown said.
“This kind of impinges upon some of the international airspace, and it impacts not just the PACAF, but all of the nations in the region. And so, it’s important for us to pay attention to something like this.”
China has transformed seven formerly submerged reefs into artificial islands, it equipped with landing strips and buildings, which Philippine officials say are the size of huge shopping malls.
Beijing admitted that these facilities would have civilian and military functions.
In 2013, China imposed an ADIZ over the East Sea, which it jointly claims with Japan. China's ADIZ in the East Sea is not being recognized by Japan and its ally, the United States.
China claims “indisputable” ownership over nearly the entire South China Sea and parts of it claimed and renamed by the Philippines as West Philippine Sea, where rich mineral deposits, oil and natural gas have been discovered in several areas.
Beijing ignored criticisms and protests over their actions, insisting that all its activities in the South China Sea are within the bounds of its territorial sovereignty.
On July 12, 2016 the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands delivered a sweeping victory to the Philippines on its case against China and invalidated Beijing's massive and historical claims over the South China Sea. China has refused to recognize the ruling. —LBG, GMA News