Korea expands its air defense zone partially overlapping with China'sUpdated: 2013-12-09 PM 12:02:09 (KST)
Korea's defense ministry has announced that it is extending its air defense zone to cover two small islands and a submerged rock called Ieodo in waters south of the Korean peninsula.
"Korea's Air Defense Identification Zone has been revised to be in line with international practices and the country's Flight Information Region, which does not overlap with neighboring countries."
The ministry on Sunday said Korea's new expanded air defense identification zone, or KADIZ, coincides with the flight information region that includes the southern islands of Marado and Hongdo which are controlled by Seoul as well as Ieodo a rock claimed by Korea and China and controlled by Korea.
The ministry said the new zone will take effect from December 15th.
Air defense identification zones are not territorial claims but they mark the airspace that countries believe are important to monitor.
The announcement comes in response to China's decision late last month to create a new air zone that overlaps with those of Korea and Japan including Korea's Ieodo and a set of disputed islands between Tokyo and Beijing.
This unilateral move sparked a backlash from Seoul, Tokyo and Washington.
Seoul said its decision was unlikely to provoke a similar reaction.
"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.
The U.S. State Department said it appreciates Korea's commitment to implement the new air zone in respect for the freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of international airspace.
There was no immediate response from China on the move but last Friday Beijing said Korea's expansion would comply with international laws and conventions and that it would stay in communication with Seoul.
Ji Myung-kil, Arirang News.
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