South China Sea: China says it has right to set up air defence zone

, 2:52 PM IST

China: China’s Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said on Wednesday that, China has the right to set up an air defense zone in the South China Sea, but this will depend on the level of threats faced.

He said that there was no legal basis for China’s claims. An international tribunal has ruled against Chinese claims to rights in the South China Sea, backing a case brought by the Philippines on Tuesday .

It said China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights and had caused “severe harm to the coral reef environment” by building artificial islands.

China called the ruling “ill-founded” and says it will not be bound by it.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including reefs and islands also claimed by others.

President Xi Jinping has said China’s “territorial sovereignty and marine rights” in the seas will not be affected by the ruling “in any way”.

Mr Liu said that China would establish an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea “if our security is being threatened”.

“Whether we need to set one up in the South China Sea depends on the level of threat we receive,” said Mr Liu.

He said he hoped all countries would “work with China to protect the peace and stability of the South China Sea, and not let the South China Sea become the origin of a war”.