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Chinese military plane enters S. Korea's air defense zone after prior notification

Diplomacy 14:12 October 29, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- A Chinese military plane entered South Korea's air defense identification zone after sending prior notification on Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, in a turnaround from China's practice of breaching the zone without notice.

Before the plane, believed to be reconnaissance aircraft, entered the South Korean air defense identification zone (KADIZ) over the Yellow Sea earlier in the day, China notified Seoul of its flight route and purposes via their military hotline, according to the JCS.

Tuesday's entry marked the 25th time that a Chinese warplane entered KADIZ so far this year. China has rarely sent prior notifications to South Korea ahead of their entry.

Such a change comes at a time when the two sides have stepped up efforts to mend defense ties soured amid tensions over Seoul's decision to host an advanced U.S. missile defense system called Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD).

Last week, Seoul and Beijing held their vice ministerial-level strategic dialogue for the first time in five years and agreed to set up more hotlines between their air forces and navies.

Currently, they have one such channel between Seoul's master control and reporting center and China's northern theater command.

Air defense identification zones are not territorial airspace and are not bound by international law. They are areas each country zones off to prevent infiltration by foreign planes and accidental clashes.

Du Nongyi (R), military attache of the Chinese Embassy in Seoul, enters the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) building on July 23, 2019, after the JCS called him in over two Chinese reconnaissance planes' violation of Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ). The aircraft flew over the country's easternmost Dokdo Islets in the East Sea during a joint exercise with a Russian bomber earlier in the day. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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