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Korea beefs up surveillance over Ieodo after air zone expansion

Updated: 2013-12-10 (KST)
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The Korean military has beefed up surveillance in the waters and skies over Ieodo, a submerged rocky outcropping that's controlled by Korea, but lies within the air zones of Korea, China and Japan.
Until now, Korea was dispatching maritime patrol aircraft to the area two to three times a week, but with the announcement of the new air zone, the military plans to run patrols on a daily basis.
The officials explained Korea now needs a stronger military presence in its new air defense zone, which was expanded to almost two-thirds of the country's territory.
Korea defied China's declaration of its new air zone last month and is currently flying military aircraft over Ieodo without notifying Beijing, but there have been no reports of conflict so far.

Meanwhile, China and Japan are showing contrasting reactions to Korea's new announcement.
China, in its first official reaction to Korea's new air zone, expressed regret on Monday.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei in a press briefing said Seoul's new declaration is 'regrettable', and reiterated Beijing's demand that Korea settle the issue peacefully.
Over in Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan doesn't consider Korea's expanded air zone to be immediately problematic, as Tokyo was notified of it in advance.

Korea's defense ministry will hold talks with related government bodies on Tuesday to discuss follow-up measures for the air zone expansion.
Officials will focus on when and how to further negotiate with neighboring countries over the issue, and go over specific plans for strengthening surveillance activities in the new air zone.
Han Da-eun, Arirang News.

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