South Korea says it has expanded its East China Sea air defense zone to partially overlap with a similar zone recently declared by China.
The South Korean Defense Ministry said Sunday that its new zone would cover Ieodo – a submerged rock reef off the South Korean south coast, which China calls Suyan.
Defense Ministry head of policy Jang Hyuk said, “We have explained our position to related countries and overall they are in agreement that this move complies with international regulations and is not an excessive measure.”
“We believe this will not significantly impact our relationships with China and with Japan as we try to work for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia,” the South Korean Defense Ministry official added, while referring to policy that the new zone will not infringe on the sovereignty of neighboring countries.
South Korea’s new zone will take effect on December 15.
The airspace above the Seoul-controlled rock is also covered by that of China’s recently-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
On November 23, China declared the maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea in an area that includes islands at the center of territorial disputes with Korea and Japan.
Beijing has threatened “defensive emergency measures” against any aircraft that ignore its regulations and fails to provide full flight plans and identification details.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera has called on the international community to oppose China’s move.
The United States, Australia and other countries have also expressed alarm over the Chinese zone.
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