Australia summons Chinese ambassador over air defence zone

The Australian government has called in China's ambassador to express concerns at China's declaration of an air defence zone over much of the East China Sea, including islands that Japan claims as its own territory.

26th Nov 2013



The Australian government has called in China's ambassador to express concerns at China's declaration of an air defence zone over much of the East China Sea, including islands that Japan claims as its own territory.


The step has added to the security instability in north Asia and caused alarm in Japan and South Korea.
It will require foreign aircraft that fly into the zone to identify themselves or risk military "intervention" from the Chinese air force.
In a media statement released on Tuesday, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop described the action as "unhelpful in light of current regional tensions".


"Australia has made clear its opposition to any coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo in the East China Sea," she said.
Ma Zhaoxu, the Chinese ambassador who arrived in Australia at the end of August, was called into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday and told of Australia's concerns, and asked for an explanation of China's intentions.


Japan claims the Senkaku Islands - known as the Diaoyu Islands by the Chinese - as its own but China has refused to recognise its sovereignty over the uninhabited but potentially resource rich islands.


Japan has declared the action a provocation and illegitimate, and has been backed by the US.
China has responded by telling the US to stay out of the dispute.


South Korea, which claims sovereignty over a smaller portion of China's claimed "air identification defence zone", also expressed its "regret".
Japan and China have an increasingly rancorous relationship, mostly surrounding the dispute over the East China Sea islands, which are situated close to key shipping lanes and rich fishing grounds.


In response to China's announcement on Saturday, US secretary of state John Kerry said the "escalatory action" creates "risks of an incident".
 

APDR at a glance