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Gov`t mulls over expansion of Korea`s air defense zone

Posted December. 04, 2013 07:35,   


The government said Tuesday that it would finalize and announce a plan to expand Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone within this week. Countdown has thus started for the Korean government to take practical measure to counter China’s unilateral declaration of its Air Defense Identification Zone. Seoul has also begun a process to explain such a stance to neighboring countries as well.

“The government already announced its decision to expand KADIZ,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok at a press briefing on Tuesday. “The government will hold another national security coordination meeting within this week (and finalize its stance on the expansion of KADIZ) before the Defense Ministry announces the plan.” Consultations are underway within the government on the meeting’s schedule, and the elements of consideration in this regard reportedly include U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Korea from Thursday through Saturday as part of his Northeast Asian tour.

It has been confirmed that U.S. Ambassador to Korea Sung Kim visited the Defense Ministry in Seoul and met with Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin Tuesday morning. On this matter, a government source said, “Korea is informing neighboring countries of its plan to expand KADIZ.” The government explained its stance to China during the Korea-China strategic dialogue of vice defense ministerial-level officials, which were held in China on last Thursday. Hard-liners within the government claimed that “Just as China informed Korea only 30 minutes before it announced its new ADIZ on November 23, Korea should pay back the same way,” which was reportedly denied. It is reported that the Chinese style surprise announcement neither complies with the international standard nor lives up to Korea’s international dignity.

Earlier on Monday, the Korean government held a foreign affairs and defense-related ministers’ meeting presided by chief presidential security advisor Kim Jang-soo and discussed ways to address KADIZ. At the meeting, the attendees reportedly decided to include the undersea reef-island of Ieo in KADIZ by expanding the zone’s southern limit up to the flight information region, south of Jeju Island. Attendees also suggested that skies around Mara Island (south of Jeju) and Hong Island (uninhabited island south of Geoje island) be included in KADIZ. If this plan is finalized, a significant portion of KADIZ will overlap with ADIZs of China and Japan. As such, attention is focusing on how these countries will react and what ramifications it will spawn.

Once the diplomatic process is finalized, the government will announce the expansion of KADIZ in compliance with the “Executive ordinance on the law in military aircraft operation,” with defining and change of KADIZ required to be publicized through the government’s official bulletin.