Author Topic: Airlines 'must warn China' of flight plans over disputed islands  (Read 195 times)

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Offline flowers

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Airlines 'must warn China' of flight plans over disputed islands
« on: November 26, 2013, 04:06:22 PM »

Airlines will have to warn China of their flight plans before entering airspace in the East China Sea, aviation officials have said, after it declared the creation of an "air defence zone" over islands that are also claimed by Japan.

Beijing announced co-ordinates for the zone on Saturday, along with rules ordering all aircraft to notify Chinese authorities as they entered – warning that it would take "defensive emergency measures" if necessary. That sparked an angry response from Tokyo, which has administrative control of the uninhabited outcrops, and strong words from Washington.

China and Japan have been locked in a row over the rocky islets known as the Senkaku by the Japanese or the Diaoyu by the Chinese for years. They are surrounded by fisheries and other natural resources.

A transport ministry official in Seoul told Reuters that South Korean planes flying in the zone would notify China's civil aviation authorities of their flight plans, as would Taiwanese carriers, according to officials in Taipei – which also claims the islands. A Japanese official said companies there would probably need to inform China. The zone covers an area roughly two-thirds the size of the UK.

The Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, described the measure in parliament on Monday as unenforceable and dangerous.

"It's a unilateral step, changing the status quo in the East China Sea … It escalates the situation and could lead to an unexpected occurrence of accidents in the airspace," he said.

The US secretaries of state and defence both issued statements at the weekend expressing deep concern about the new zone, with John Kerry warning: "Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident."

China hit back, with its state news agency Xinhua reporting that the foreign ministry had summoned Japan's ambassador to complain about "unreasonable accusations". A ministry spokesman earlier said it had lodged representations with the US ambassador.

"We reiterate that the purpose of China's approach is to defend national sovereignty and territorial airspace security, maintain the order of airspace flight, and is an effective exercise of our right of self defence," defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement.

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