ASIA TIMES — Amid signs China will soon impose an air exclusion zone over the South China Sea, the Pentagon is trying to head off another destabilizing action by Beijing in the increasingly tense region.
Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work last week made clear the United States would not recognize China’s imposition of an air defense identification zone over the sea.
“We will not recognize the ADIZ in the South China Sea,” Work told the Washington Post.
The deputy defense secretary noted that a similar Chinese strategic move in the nearby East China Sea also remains unrecognized by the United States.
Of plans for the creation of a new ADIZ in the South China Sea, Work said such a declaration “does not have a basis in international law and we’ve said over and over we will fly, sail and go wherever international law allows.”
Pentagon officials said there are troubling indicators the Chinese are planning to impose a new ADIZ in a region where Beijing’s military has reclaimed some 3,200 acres of disputed islands and has begin adding missiles – both air defense and recently anti-ship missiles – to Woody Island, in the Paracels chain.