China to Set Up ADIZ in South China Sea if US Attempts to Block Beijing's Access to Islands: Analysts
Chinese analysts expressed doubt that the US can carry through US Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson's suggestion that Washington should prevent China from accessing its artificial islands in the South China Sea.
The Chinese military and political experts said on Thursday that any attempts by the US to block Beijing's access to its man-made islands would only send Beijing to increase its military presence in the region and establish an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the disputed sea, a military move it made in the East China Sea on 2013.
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Tillerson on Wednesday told US senators during his confirmation hearing that Beijing's island building and deployments of military weapons to its controlled as well as disputed territories were "illegal" and that it was the responsibility of Washington to deny Beijing access to these islands.
"We're going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands also is not going to be allowed," he said.
Although Tillerson was raring to pursue his suggestion, he, however, could not provide the Senate Foreign Relations Committee details on how this was going to be done.
Yuan Zheng, a Chinese analyst at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, said he doubts the US would dare go through with Tillerson's suggestion saying the South China Sea waters was not American territory.
"I don't think the US will stop China from accessing its own islands in the South China Sea," he said.
"China is not Cuba, and the South China Sea is not the Caribbean. The South China Sea is not under the US sphere of influence. It's China's territorial waters," he stressed,
Yuan emphasized that China would have no other recourse but to set up an ADIZ over the disputed waterway if US would attempt to block Beijing's access to the islands.
Wu Xinbo, a researcher at a Shanghai university, said China would not hesitate to deploy more military arms and equipment to its artificial islands if the US military intensifies its pressure on Beijing in the strategic waterway.
Wu said the US military is running out of options in policing the disputed sea saying that it could only step up its freedom of navigation operations with their warships in the waters.