Upping the Ante in the East China Sea

South Korea Announces Expansion of Its Air Defense Zone - NYTimes.com

via South Korea Announces Expansion of Its Air Defense Zone – NYTimes.com.

South Korea’s expanded “air defense identification zone” was the latest sign of a broadening discord among the Northeast Asian neighbors, who are already locked in territorial and historical disputes.

China and S Korea are feuding over a submerged reef in the middle of the sea.  Right now S Korea has a research station at Ieo-do, called Suyan Rock by the Chinese.  The main attraction is that the seabed around the reef is full of oil and gas, which both countries need.

China expanded its Air Defense Zone 2 weeks ago to include a small group of islands northeast of Taiwan called Diayou.  The Japanese also claim the islands, which they call Senkaku.

Japan and S Korea are disputing control of 2 small islets in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) know as Dokdo in Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

China’s attempt to police additional airspace over the East China Sea has highlighted a potentially volatile dispute between China and South Korea. The South Korean Navy is already building a $970 million base naval base in Jeju, an island off the southern coast of South Korea, to protect shipping lanes for South Korea’s oil-dependent, export-driven economy as well as to respond quickly to any dispute with China over the submerged reef.

All these countries need energy resources, and so this will probably end badly – we can only hope the US doesn’t get dragged into the conflict.

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