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Tag: Ieodo

Unintentionally ironic Chinese statement of the day

China thinks the expansion of Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) is mean:

Lü Chao, a researcher at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said the latest gesture shows a provocative stance.

“The original KADIZ was established by the US more than 60 years ago and it hasn’t changed all these years. South Korea and China have been at peace over the zone. This time the change in attitude is obviously a response to China’s ADIZ, it’s not a friendly gesture towards China,” he told the Global Times.

On the other hand, as Joshua Trevino writes on Facebook, “If you can’t get the Koreans on board with your anti-Japanese gambit, things have gone badly amiss.”

The Korean military has recently increased its P3-C surveillance flights over Ieodo to one a day and is considering shifting some of its F-15Ks from Daegu to Gwangju if foreign (read: Chinese) warplanes make it a habit of entering the KADIZ uninvited.

President Park, meanwhile, said this morning that the expansion of the KADIZ was done to guarantee Korea’s national interests as a sovereign nation. She did criticize some people—including, presumably, the media—for causing public insecurity by calling for immediate action, making exaggerated reports or expressing speculative opinions.

photo credit: Steve Webel via photopin cc

ADIZ wars!

Hard to see how any of this is going to help maintain peace in East Asia. Then again, it wasn’t meant to (HT to Anonymous Joe):

Japan warned Sunday of the danger of “unpredictable events” and South Korea voiced regret following China’s unilateral declaration of an air defence zone over areas claimed by Tokyo and Seoul.
[...]
“We find it regretful that China’s air defence zone partly overlaps with our military’s KADIZ (Korean Air Defense Identification Zone) in the area west of Jeju Island,” said a ministry statement, according to Yonhap news agency.
[...]
The Chinese zone also includes a South Korean-controlled submerged rock that lies within the two countries’ overlapping economic zones, according to a South Korean defence ministry official quoted by the news agency.

The submerged rock in question is Ieodo, a.k.a. Socotra Rock, where Chinese surveillance flights have sharply increased this year. On the bright side, China reassures us that there’s no territorial dispute with Korea over the rock, and as far as I know, neither Korea nor China actually claim it as territory—-according to the UN Law of the Sea, submerged rocks cannot be claimed as territory. On the not-so-bright side, Ieodo features prominently in the regarding the overlap in Korea’s and China’s respective EEZs, although why the rock itself is of any importance in that, I’m not quite sure—Koh Choong-suk, president of the Society of Ieodo Research, tries to explain it here, but I’m still not sure why the rock matters. If you get it, though, please enlighten me in the comments.

Interestingly enough, Japan’s air defense zone also reportedly violates Korea’s in the water’s south of Jejudo.

The JoongAng Ilbo has a nice little map showing the competing Korean, Chinese and Japanese air defense zones in the South Korea Sea East China Sea. One interest thing to note is that Korea’s does NOT include Ieodo, although the Korean Defense Ministry is apparently considering extending the zone.

The United States, needless to say, is not happy about any of this, especially since President Obama is on record suggesting that the United States would defend Japan’s Senkaku Islands in the event of an attack. For that matter, so is the US Congress. Possibly to reaffirm this point, the USAF flew a B-52 through China’s new air defense zone and over the Senkaku Islands. Which was pretty ballsy on Obama’s part, IMHO. China, meanwhile, is sending a carrier group—or should I say the carrier group, as it’s only got one—to the South China Sea. Lovely.

I confess, stuff like this gets me a wee bit nervous, mostly because I don’t know to what extent the Chinese leadership believes its own bullshit. You’ve got Koreans, Chinese, Japanese and Americans involved in this thing now, and you pray no one does anything stupid.

On the East Asian maritime front…

In an editorial today, Ye Olde Chosun warns that if China isn’t careful, it could provoke its threatened neighbors into forming an anti-Chinese coalition.

Oh, and we really need to build that naval base in Jeju. Oddly enough, the Dong-A Ilbo penned an editorial about the Jeju base, noting that while Park supports it, Moon Jae-in opposes it and Ahn Chul-soo isn’t very clear about whether he supports it or not.

Nothing on Ieodo on the Hani’s editorial page, but on the front page of their online edition, they’re reporting they’ve got evidence of mines in the area where the Cheonan sunk. Don’t stop believin’, guys.

About that carrier…

The New York Times casts doubts on the usefulness of the PLAN’s newest toy:

American military planners have played down the significance of the commissioning of the carrier. Some Navy officials have even said they would encourage China to move ahead with building its own aircraft carrier and the ships to accompany it, because it would be a waste of money.

Other military experts outside China have agreed with that assessment.

“The fact is the aircraft carrier is useless for the Chinese Navy,” You Ji, a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore, said in an interview. “If it is used against America, it has no survivability. If it is used against China’s neighbors, it’s a sign of bullying.”

Vietnam, a neighbor with whom China has fought wars, operates land-based Russian Su-30 aircraft that could pose a threat to the aircraft carrier, Mr. You said. “In the South China Sea, if the carrier is damaged by the Vietnamese, it’s a huge loss of face,” he said. “It’s not worth it.”

I agree almost completely with that assessment. I say almost because while it’s certainly true China would be seen as a “bully” if it used its carrier against a neighbor, I’ve yet to see anything from Beijing that suggests they’d give a shit. If anything, it seems they’ve embraced the role of regional meathead, and I’d expect nothing less than to wake up one day with the Liaoning off Ieodo.

I knew it!

A Korean army colonel tells the Chosun Ilbo the real reason Japan is claiming Dokdo is to focus attention away from Daemado (a.k.a. Tsushima Island) and the maritime border in the Korea Strait.

Said colonel has been claiming Daemado as Korean territory since 2008.

UPDATE

As if Japan and China weren’t enough…

Clearly upset with China and Japan hogging all the attention, Pyongyang is doing its best to raise tensions at sea, too.

The Hanguk Ilbo reports that North Korean fishing boats have violated the NLL seven times since Sept 12. And according to one military official, the fishing boats are carrying North Korean soldiers.

One recent incident prompted ROK Navy patrol boats to fire warning shots, and an F-15K was sortied.

More Korea—China—Japan not getting along stuff

- Ye Old Chosun, quoting Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, is reporting that Korea is refusing to allow a Japan MSDF warship to touch at Busan during upcoming PSI drills hosted by Korea.

The Korean side cites “various circumstances” for the refusal.

When the Japanese side suggested it might be unable to take part in the drill, the United States changed the drill scenario so that the Japanese ship wouldn’t have to touch at Busan.

The drills, featuring warships and planes from the United States, Australia, Korea and Japan, will take place in international waters about 100km off Busan.

The Japanese side also feels the Koreans are objecting to the ships flying the Japanese naval ensign, which is the “Rising Sun” flag.

The Korean Defense Ministry, for its part, hasn’t mentioned anything about denying the Japanese ship entry into Busan.

- YTN is reporting that during talks in New York, the foreign ministers of Korea and China agreed to cooperate in challenging Japan’s historical views.

With Japanese Prime Minister Noda planning to talk about the need to resolve territorial issues through international law in his address to the UN General Assembly, Korea and China agreed the international community should first understand history properly. Or as Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan put it, “It’s an issue related to our history. And this is why Seoul and Beijing have agreed on the need to tell the world the truth about history.” Which sounds to me a lot like Korea taking China’s side in the Senkaku dispute. Which is odd, considering.

- Korea and China, however, have their own issues. Ye Olde Chosun is reporting that China is placing Ieodo under regular aerial surveillance:

China is claiming once again that the submerged rocks of Ieo Island are part of its own territory and included them among places to be monitored by aerial drones. The move came six months after Liu Xigui, the director of China’s State Oceanic Administration, said Beijing would now regularly patrol Chinese waters using both ships and surveillance aircraft.

The Korean side, for its part, plans to respond to Chinese survey ships with Korean Coast Guard cutters, and Chinese warships with ROK Navy warships. Yesterday, the Korea Coast Guard commissioned a 3,000-ton Coast Guard cutter that will be deployed to Jeju-do to patrol the waters around Ieodo.

PS: The Chosun Ilbo is still unhappy with the missile situation. Despite a bilateral agreement with the United States that would allow Korea to expand its missile ranges to 800km, the Chosun wants to know why it’s only South Korea being tied down with these agreements while China, Russia, North Korea and Japan can seemingly build whatever the hell they like. Ye Olde Chosun warns that keeping Korea from obtaining a minimum capacity to defend itself not only threatens the balance in Northeast Asia, but also doesn’t help in maintaining or developing the Korea—US alliance.

No argument from me.

LMB warns Japanese lawmakers about visiting Ulleungdo

Now, Ulleungdo is a beautiful place, and ordinarily, I’d encourage anyone to visit.

That is, unless you’re a bunch of LDP lawmakers looking to protest Korean ownership of Dokdo.

Whether these guys will even be allowed into Korea is not clear. Earlier this morning, Ye Olde Chosun reported that President Lee had ordered immigration to turn the lawmakers away at the airport if they touch down in Korea (presumably, they won’t be taking Korean Air).

Cheong Wa Dae is now denying such instructions were given, but is expressing concerns that the safety of the lawmakers might be imperiled if they visit Ulleungdo:

President Lee Myung-bak has expressed concern that the safety of four Japanese lawmakers could be at risk if they press ahead with a trip here seen as aimed at bolstering Tokyo’s claims to the South’s easternmost island of Dokdo, an official said Wednesday.

Lee also instructed officials to convey such concerns to Tokyo and try to talk out the issue, presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha told reporters, denying a newspaper report that Lee ordered officials to turn the Japanese lawmakers back as soon as they arrived at an airport.
[...]
The planned trip sparked outrage in South Korea, with the ruling party chief and other lawmakers calling for the government to ban their entry to the country. There have also been concerns that the Japanese lawmakers could be a target of angry civic groups.

Lee also reportedly said the issue should be handled “quietly and with diplomatic language befitting a first-class nation.”

Frankly, I don’t know why the government is even considering letting these guys in. They certainly don’t have to let them in. They won’t earn much goodwill in Japan if they do, but they will earn much public condemnation domestically from just about everyone in elected office.

Still, one does wonder if any of this has to do with the Korean lawmakers who visited the Kuril Islands in May.

Meanwhile, in the south, China has apparently been making noise about Ieodo, which its name notwithstanding is neither and island nor an islet. From the Dong-A Ilbo:

The Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said Saturday that a Korean manufacturer of tugboats and barges was supporting salvage work in waters 0.8 kilometer southwest of Ieo from April after the 50,905-ton bulk coal ship Oriental Hope sank there.

The ship is owned by a company based in Jeju and a Dutch company was doing the salvage work.

On June 13 and July 2 and 5, China sent a government vessel to the area and sent a message through wireless telecommunication to a Korean ship that was aiding the salvage. The Chinese vessel warned that the Korean ship was doing salvage work in Chinese territorial waters without approval from China.

Well, never let it be said that China lacks a set. The Koreans, to their credit, have stationed a Coast Guard vessel out there now to make sure the Chinese don’t attempt a repeat performance. I’m sure the Navy is also citing this as a reason why they need that naval base on Jeju-do.

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