Korea to Announce New Air Defense Zone This Week

The government will finalize plans to expand Korea's air defense identification zone and notify neighboring countries by the end of this week.

A government official said a meeting of relevant ministers this week will make the final adjustments before the changes are announced.

The decision comes after China late last month unilaterally declared its own air defense zone, which overlaps with Korean airspace and includes the submerged shelf of Ieo, which is controlled by Korea.

The government has apparently decided to include Ieo, which lies south of Jeju Island in the new zone. It will have the same boundaries as Korea's Flight Information Region, which regulates air traffic and stretches 370 km south of Jeju.

Ieo has so far not been part of Korea’s air defense zone, but it is part of Japan's.

The government also plans to include airspace near Marado and Hongdo, an inhabited island south of Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province that is also part of Japan's zone.

The Flight Information Region is recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization and is legally binding under international law, but no international treaties govern air defense identification zones.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 04, 2013 13:05 KST