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Talk of the Day -- Cross-strait talks on South China Sea ADIZ?

2013/12/04 21:53:44

Taiwan has told Beijing that its declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over an area of the East China Sea that covers the disputed Diaoyutai Islands is unacceptable, Taiwan's intelligence chief said Wednesday.

Tsai De-sheng, director-general of the National Security Bureau (NSB) said Taiwan is also communicating with China through an encrypted dialogue channel over Beijing's plan to demarcate another ADIZ over the South China Sea.

Tsai fielded questions at a Legislative Yuan committee hearing that followed a closed-door briefing on wiretapping, surveillance and espionage-related topics and the bureau's early warning mechanism against Chinese spies.

The following are excerpts from local media coverage of China's controversial ADIZ claim:

United Evening News:

At the Wednesday hearing, lawmakers from across party lines expressed concerns over China's East China Sea airspace claim, the passage of the first Chinese aircraft carrier battle group through the Taiwan Strait, and China's plan to declare another ADIZ in the South China Sea.

Yang Ying-hsiung from the ruling Kuomintang asked Tsai how Taiwan would react if a South China Sea ADIZ covers Taiwan-controlled Taiping Island, the largest of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

To his knowledge, Tsai said, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have an encrypted communication mechanism.

"The two sides have begun communications on airspace-related issues through such a mechanism," he said.

Besides telling Beijing that Taiwan cannot accept its East China Sea ADIZ claim, the government has also informed China of Taiwan's disapproval of its airspace plan for the South China Sea, he added.

An NSB official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the biggest victims of a southern ADIZ would be Taiwan-held Dongsha Island, the largest in the South China Sea, and commercial aircraft flying over the Hong Kong Flight Information Region.

Also at issue are Taiwan's C-130 military cargo planes, which fly adjacent to the Philippines' ADIZ on their way to Taiping Island whenever the Air Force is conducting annual exercises in the South China Sea region, the source added.

If Beijing declares a South China Sea ADIZ, Taiwan would face a dilemma, the official said. Should the Air Force file flight plans with Bejing before sending its planes into the region?

In the Legislature, Tsai addressed the other outstanding military question of the past few days. Speaking on the passage of China's Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group through the Taiwan Strait on its way to the South China Sea for a first-ever long-distance training mission, he said its unrealistic for Taiwan to compete with China in terms of military expansion.

In his view, Taiwan should seek to improve political relations with China to ensure Taiwan stability across the strait.

He stressed that improving cross-strait political ties does not necessarily mean that the two sides should move toward unification. (Dec. 4, 2013).

China Times:

The U.S. government reaffirmed its opposition to China's ADIZ claim Monday, vowing not to tolerate any aggressive moves as Vice President Joe Biden visits the region.

The Obama administration also put pressure on China to scrap its East China Sea ADIZ to avoid escalating tensions.

China's newly declared ADIZ covers the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, which have been under Japan's administrative control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China. The uninhabited island cluster is located some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan.

Amid the ongoing simmering tensions over China's airspace claim, the U.S. has recently deployed two P-8A anti-submarine aircraft in Okinawa, just 400 kilometers away from the Diaoyutai Islands, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands. (Dec. 4, 2013).

(By Sofia Wu)