(Adds Chinese Foreign Ministry comment, Chinese state media)
SYDNEY Nov 26 Australia summoned China's
ambassador to express concern over its imposition of an "Air
Defence Identification Zone" over the East China Sea, the
foreign minister said on Tuesday, decrying the move as unhelpful
in a region beset by tension.
"The timing and the manner of China's announcement are
unhelpful in light of current regional tensions, and will not
contribute to regional stability," Julie Bishop said in a
"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade yesterday
called in China's ambassador to convey the Australian
Government's concerns and to seek an explanation of China's
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the
ambassador "fully expounded upon China's considerations and aims
in setting up the East China Sea Air Defence Inspection Zone,
and expounded upon our position and viewpoints".
"(I) hope Australia can correctly understand (our motives),
and work together to protect flight safety in the relevant zone.
We also hope that Australia can actively work towards regional
peace and stability," he told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
Aviation officials on Monday said Asian airlines would
inform China of their flight plans before entering airspace over
waters disputed with Japan, effectively acknowledging Beijing's
authority over the newly declared zone.
China published coordinates for the zone on the weekend. The
area, about two-thirds the size of Britain, covers most of the
East China Sea and the skies over a group of uninhabited islands
at the centre of a bitter row between Beijing and Tokyo.
China says that the zone will not affect what it calls
normal operations of international flights and has rejected
criticism of it from both Washington and Tokyo.
The official People's Liberation Army Daily said there was
no cause for alarm.
"In the ADIZ, generally there will only be a requirement for
flying objects to report their nationality, position and flight
plan, in order to ascertain position, and make identification
and control easier," it wrote in a commentary.
It said the only countries or people which could possible be
nervous about this were those who "have covetous hearts".
"If there is no intention of casting greedy eyes on our
territory, then why make expressions of worry?" the newspaper
China's Defence Ministry says it will also set up other
similar zones when the necessary preparations are completed,
though it has yet to provide details.
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Additional reporting by Natalie
Thomas, Megha Rajagopalan and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing
by Ron Popeski)