Beijing: China has termed the objections raised by Japan and the US on its move to create an air defence zone over the disputed islands in the East China Sea as “absolutely groundless and unacceptable”, and lodged a protest with Washington objecting to its criticism.

Reacting to the protests lodged by Japan over the creation of the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone, Chinese Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said Japan’s remarks are “utterly groundless and China won’t accept them.”

He also termed US criticism of the zone as ground less, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

The United States is now raising opposition and blaming China which is totally groundless, Yang said.

The Foreign Affairs Office of China’s Defence Ministry has lodged solemn representations with the military attache of the US Embassy in China yesterday, Yang said.

“The establishment of the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone by the Chinese government is “totally rational and indisputable,” he stressed.

According to Yang, 20-plus countries, including the United States, have set up their own air defence identification zones since the 1950s.

US Secretary of State John Kerry strongly criticised the creation of the zone saying that Washington is “deeply concerned” and asked Beijing not to enforce the decision.

“This unilateral action constitutes an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea. Escalatory action will only increase tensions in the region and create risks of an incident,” he said.

“Freedom of over flight and other internationally lawful uses of sea and airspace are essential to prosperity, stability and security in the Pacific,” Kerry said.

Under the new zone all the foreign aircraft will have to identify themselves while flying over the disputes islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkakus by Japan and inform their flight plans to Beijing in advance.

Yang reiterated that China’s move aims to safeguard the country’s state sovereignty and territorial and airspace safety and ensure the order for flight.

He said the move is a necessary measure for China to effectively exercise the self-defence right and conforms to the Charter of the United Nations and international laws and practices.

Having established its own air defence identification zone in late 1960s, Japan has no right to make irresponsible remarks on China’s setup the Zone, Yang said.

“The current situation over the Diaoyu Islands was completely caused by the wrong words and deeds of the Japanese side,” he said, adding that the US “should not choose side” over the issue and “make no more inappropriate remarks or send no wrong signal that may lead to the risky move by Japan.”

“We demand the US side to earnestly respect China’s national security, stop making irresponsible remarks for China’s setup of the East China Sea Air Defence Identification Zone and make concrete efforts for the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” Yang said.

According to Yang, Japan has frequently sent military planes in recent years to track and monitor Chinese military planes which were conducting normal exercises and patrols above the East China Sea in the name of entering its own air defence identification zone, which severely undermined the freedom of over-flight and made safety accidents and unexpected incidents highly likely.

Yang also accused Japanese officials of using the media to maliciously report about China’s legal and normal flights in an attempt to confound public opinions and create oppositional emotions.

“Facts have proven that it is Japan who has been creating tense situations,” Yang said.

Yang stressed that the Diaoyu Islands are an inherent part of China’s territory, and the country’s determination and volition to safeguard its sovereignty over the islands are “unwavering”.

“We strongly require the Japanese side to stop all moves that undermine China’s territorial sovereignty as well as irresponsible remarks that misguide international opinions and create regional tensions,” Yang said.

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