55 Airlines Comply with Chinese Air Defense Zone

Since China declared a new Air Defense Identification Zone, 55 airlines from 19 countries have notified China of their flight schedules over the zone, according to the Chinese Foreign ministry.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters on Tuesday afternoon, "China has gained understanding from an increasing number of countries over the establishment of the zone."

The Chinese Defense Ministry also said that "perfect identification" of aircrafts within the zone is being achieved, reflecting Beijing's confidence that it can make the zone an established fact.

Hong thanked the airlines for their cooperation and understanding, and reiterated that the measure is beneficial to all sides in ensuring flight safety and respecting each other's airspace.

He added that although the criteria may differ slightly from country to country, the zones safeguard national sovereignty and airspace security.

He said China is not the only country to request flight schedules, since Canada, India and Thailand are doing the same. He stressed that the measure is in accordance with international laws.

The U.S. advised airlines there to report their flight schedules to China, but the Japanese and Korean governments have not done so.

Over 1,400 flights by Korean airlines pass through the new Chinese zone every week. The Chinese Defense Ministry has warned that military airplanes can be dispatched to zone if necessary.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 05, 2013 13:55 KST