South Korea yesterday said that it has extended its air defense zone to partially overlap with a similar zone declared by China two weeks ago that has sharply raised regional tensions.
Beijing’s declaration of an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in an area that includes islands at the heart of a territorial dispute with Taiwan and Japan has triggered protests from the US, as well as close allies Japan and South Korea.
Announcing the expansion of its own zone to include two territorial islands to the south and a submerged rock also claimed by China, the South Korean Ministry of Defense said the move would not infringe on neighboring countries’ sovereignty.
“We believe this will not significantly impact our relationships with China and with Japan as we try to work for peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia,” the ministry’s head of policy, Jang Hyuk, told a briefing.
“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,” he said, adding that the ministry’s top priority was to work with neighboring countries to prevent military confrontation.
South Korea objected to China’s Nov. 23 move as unacceptable because its new zone includes a maritime rock named Ieodo, which Seoul controls and has a research station platform built atop it.
China also claims the submerged rock.
However, Seoul’ reaction to Beijing has been more measured than the sharp rebukes delivered by Tokyo and Washington, reflecting a sensitivity toward South Korea’s largest trading partner.
South Korea’s air defense zone was originally established by the US Air Force in 1951 during the Korean War.
Its extension will not apply any restrictions to the operation of commercial flights, the ministry said separately in a statement. The move will take effect on Sunday, it said.
It will also result in an overlap with Japan’s air defense zone, Jang said.
There was no immediate reaction from China, although Beijing’s response to news last week that South Korea was reviewing its options on the ADIZ was relatively low-key.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) on Friday said any move by South Korea must “accord with international law and norms.”
However, Hong added: “China is willing to maintain communications with South Korea on the basis of equality and mutual respect.”
The decision by China that kicked off the latest spat was the subject of a tense disagreement, as US Vice President Joe Biden visited China, stressing Washington’s objections to the move that he said caused “significant apprehension” in the region.
Beijing says its zone is in accordance with international law and Washington and others should respect it.
Under the Chinese zone’s rules, all aircraft have to report flight plans to Chinese authorities, maintain radio contact and reply promptly to identification inquiries.
US, Japanese and South Korean military aircraft have breached the zone without informing Beijing since it was announced.
South Korean and Japanese commercial planes have also been advised by their governments not to follow the rules.
‘FREEDOM WINE’: Taiwanese are empathetic of Australians, the president said, while lawmakers called on their constituents to drink Australian wine to show their support Taiwan would take action to back Australians at a time when they are “under tremendous pressure,” President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday, as tensions between Australia and China heated up. Taipei and Canberra have been mutually supportive in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in exchanging critical medical materials in the early stages, Tsai said, before chairing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Central Standing Committee meeting in Taipei. Taiwan and Australia are like-minded nations, sharing the common values of democracy, freedom and human rights, while their economic and trade relations have also become close, she said. Canberra has been voicing support for Taiwan’s international
VIGILANCE: From tomorrow all arrivals must provide the result of a PCR test issued within three days of boarding, and the CECC asked people to report anyone who has faked their result The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) expects an increase in the number of returning travelers in the coming days, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, adding that the varying qualities of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test reports from other countries is a big concern. Chen, who heads the center, was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders scholarship award ceremony in Taipei. “As the global COVID-19 situation is worsening, and with some holidays coming up, there might be an increase in the number of overseas Taiwanese returning to Taiwan,” he
CECC RULES: The autumn-winter COVID-19 prevention program, including mandatory mask wearing in eight types of public venues and indoor facilities, begins today A temporary, two-week ban on Indonesian migrant workers entering the nation is to begin on Friday, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced yesterday as it reported 24 new imported cases of COVID-19. Twenty of the new cases are Indonesian migrant workers who arrived between Nov. 11 and Friday last week, said Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center. The cases were discovered during a special project on Friday to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on all 939 recently arrived Indonesian migrant workers in centralized quarantine facilities, as the majority of imported cases in the past
Passports with a redesigned cover highlighting Taiwan would be issued starting on Jan. 11, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. The new cover design, which was announced on Sept. 2, highlights Taiwan by printing the word in a larger font. While the new passport cover retains “the Republic of China” in Chinese, the English name is printed along the outer circle of the national emblem, which would enable other nations to clearly identify that it is a Taiwanese passport, not a Chinese passport, the ministry said. The costs and application procedures for the new version are the same as