China says its in full control of air defence zone

China says its in full control of air defence zone
The Air Defence Identification Zone covers the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, seen here in 2011.

The Chinese military had identified about 800 military flights from foreign countries and regions in its newly established Air Defence Identification Zone by December 22, a Ministry of National Defence spokesman said on Thursday.

At a monthly news briefing, Geng Yansheng said China has exercised effective control over the zone in the East China Sea since it was established on November 23.

Fifty-six airlines from 23 countries and regions reported plans for 21,475 flights, Geng said.

To safeguard air security, the Chinese army launched 87 flights in 51 groups consisting of reconnaissance planes, early warning aircraft and fighter jets to conduct routine patrols and urgent identification tasks, Geng said.

"China will respond to each different air threat as the situation requires to safeguard its air space security," he said.

China set up its first air defence identification zone in accordance with Chinese law and international practices.

An ADIZ is a defensive area of air space established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace to allow timely identification, monitoring, control and reaction to potential air threats. It allows time for early warnings and provides air security, military experts said.

"The figures indicate that Beijing has been able to control the ADIZ since it was established," said Li Qinggong, deputy secretary-general of the China Council for National Security Policy Studies.

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