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China could establish new ADIZ over South China Sea, says MND

TAIPEI -- The Ministry of National Defense (MND) said yesterday that it could not rule out the possibility of China announcing another air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea after a similar move covering part of the East China Sea in late November.

China announced its ADIZ over a chunk of the East China Sea Nov. 23 to assert its claim over the Diaoyutai Islands and maritime economic interests in nearby waters, the MND said in a report submitted to the Legislative Yuan's Foreign and National Defense Committee.

The purpose of Beijing's move also includes an intention to challenge a regional security mechanism long dictated by the United States and to provide a legal basis for China's claim in case of future arbitration over sovereignty disputes in the East China Sea, the MND said.

The ADIZ allows the Chinese to counter U.S. and Japanese air and naval electronic reconnaissance measures in the area, which has long been a source of friction for the Chinese military, the MND added.

An expected increase in contacts between Chinese warplanes and aircraft from other countries could put more pressure on Taiwan's own air defenses, it said, adding that monitoring measures of Taiwan's own ADIZ will be stepped up to ensure adequate advance warning.

The MND report was submitted ahead of Defense Minister Yen Ming's appearance before the committee to brief legislators on the latest Chinese action, which has raised concern among other countries, including the United States, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin and National Security Bureau (NSB) Director-General Tsai De-sheng will also appear before the committee to give their assessments of the situation.

In its report, the NSB said that the risk of unintentional conflict has increased with the Chinese action, although Beijing is not expected to trigger a war.

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