Japan and South Korea may have very little ground to agree on lately, but it seems that they have the same opinion when it comes to China’s newly established air defense identification zone (ADIZ). Both Tokyo and Seoul disagree over this latest move by their neighbour and on Thursday, a South Korean plane flew in the air zone without informing Chinese authorities.
According to South Korean military authorities, the plane was part of a regular military surveillance exercise that they conduct around Ieodo, also called Suyan Rock by China, a submerged rock in the East China Sea under their control. This rock has been a source of dispute between Beijing and Seoul, as China says it is part of their exclusive economic zone, while it serves as the foundation of the Korean Ieodo Ocean Research Station. A Korean defense ministry spokesman confirmed that they did not inform China about the plane, despite the new rules imposed by China that all foreign aircraft passing through their air zone needs to inform them of their flight plans. The spokesman also said that they will continue flying over the area around Ieodo without notifying China, as they consider that their territory.
Ever since China announced the ADIZ on Saturday, international reaction to it has been critical. The United States flew two B-52 bombers over the Senkaku Islands earlier this week, also without informing Chinese authorities. The islands are also a source of dispute between China and Japan and this new military move has escalated tensions between the two, as well as with the US, Japan’s closest ally. A visit by US Vice President Joe Biden to the region next week will see him discussing this controversial incident, as he meets with all three countries in the middle of this issue.
[ via Straits Times ]