China expressed its “regret” on Monday as South Korea announced an expansion of its air defense identification zone, just a week and a few days removed from Beijing establishing its own, thereby provoking an outrage in the region. Seoul and Tokyo, along with Washington – the latter having security alliances with both Japan and South Korea – have all made public their refusal to accept Beijing’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). South Korea’s new expanded ADIZ, set up decades ago, now includes the Ieodo rock, which is controlled by Seoul but also claimed by China.
At a regular press briefing foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed regret over Seoul’s announcement Sunday that it was expanding its ADIZ by about 66,480 square kilometers (25,670 square miles) – roughly two thirds the size of the country. “China expresses regret over the ROK’s decision to expand its ADIZ,” he said, referring to the formal name Republic of Korea. “China will stay in communication with the ROK based on equality and mutual respect. We hope that the ROK will meet China halfway,” he continued.
Ieodo is a submerged rock in the East China Sea that seafaring Korean families once believed to be the home of the spirits of dead fishermen. In response to China’s controversial move, the South Korean government has expanded its air defense zone as well to encompass Ieodo, which China also included in its air defense zone – China claims the rock as “Suyan”. South Korean officials had asked China to remove Ieodo from its ADIZ, but Chinese officials refused. Further complicating matters, the rock also falls under Japan’s air defense identification zone, though the country doesn’t make any claims to it. Japan has recently gave a cautious approval to South Korea’s air defense zone expansion.
[via Defense One]