BEIJING, Dec. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- South Korea announced an extension of its air defense identification zone on Sunday. The zone encompasses submerged rocks within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of China and South Korea. China responded on Monday saying it was willing to maintain communications with South Korea on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
The South Korean Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a southward expansion of its Air Defense Identification Zone.
The new zone’s eastern and western boundaries remain the same as before.
It will take effect on December the 15th, with a seven day preparation period.
"The new Korean Air Defense Identification Zone has been modified so that the southern boundary matches the Incheon flight information region which is internationally recognized and does not overlap with the surrounding countries.” South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Kim Min-Seok said.
The new South Korean zone includes the nation’s two southernmost islands of Marado and Hongdo.
But it also includes the Suyan Reef, a submerged rock within the overlapping exclusive economic zones of China and South Korea.
The Chinese government has expressed regret over South Korea’s decision to expand its Air Defense Identification Zone, and hoped it can handle the issue well.
“The Air Defense Identification Zone is not territorial airspace. It is established by a country in public airspace outside its territorial airspace for identification and early-warning. It has nothing to do with maritime and air jurisdiction. The Suyan reef is a submerged rock. China and South Korea agreed that the rock does not have territorial status and the two countries have no territorial disputes over it.” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said.
South Korea’s move followed the announcement of China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone two weeks earlier in the East China Sea.
It has drawn protests from South Korea and Japan, and concerns from the United States.
U.S., Japanese and South Korean military aircraft have since breached the zone without informing Beijing.
South Korean and Japanese commercial planes have also been advised by their governments not to follow the rules.