BEIJING : China condemned the US Pacific air force commander Monday for “irresponsible remarks” after he warned it would be provocative if Beijing declared an air defence zone over the South China Sea. The response ratchets up a war of words also involving the Philippines and Japan over territorial disputes in the South and East China Seas respectively. Beijing set up an “air defence identification zone” (ADIZ) over the latter waters in November that included contested islands claimed by it and Tokyo, prompting condemnation by Washington.
Amid concerns Beijing may do the same to assert territorial claims in the South China Sea, US Pacific Air Force Commander Herbert Carlisle said on Sunday such a step would be “very provocative”.
At a regular press briefing on Monday, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hit back, saying that “setting up an air defence identification zone is a reasonable right for any sovereign state to exercise.