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Japan's air defense identification zone request confirmed

2010/05/27 16:31:43

Taipei, May 27 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) hasbeen notified by Japan about a request to re-draw the Air DefenseIdentification Zone (ADIZ) over Japan's Yonaguni lsland just to theeast of Taiwan, the west side of which falls under Taiwan'sjurisdiction, a MOFA official said Thursday.

"The Foreign Ministry contacted the national defense andtransportation ministries immediately after receiving the requestfrom Japan's Interchange Association, " MOFA deputy spokesman JamesChang told a news conference.

Japan's Interchange Association serves as the de facto Japaneseembassy in Taiwan due to a lack of formal diplomatic relationsbetween the two sides.

"The three ministries have been assessing how to respond to theissue and will give a clear explanation to the public after they havecome to a decision," Chang said.

Echoing Chang's remarks, Vice Minister of National Defense ChaoShih-chang told lawmakers at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan'sforeign affairs and national defense committee that "all partiesconcerned have been studying the issue carefully" and that "Taiwan'ssafety and national interests will not be compromised."

Legislator Chang Hsien-yao of the ruling Kuomintang said theMinistry of National Defense should firmly turn down Japan's requestfor the sake of Taiwan's own national defense needs.

Japan's Senkei Shinbum newspaper reported that same day thatTokyo has in principle decided to re-draw its ADIZ for YonaguniIsland by moving the zone westward in mid-June. According to thereport, the Japanese government thinks the move should meet withTaiwan's understanding.

Yonaguni is Japan's westernmost territory and lies 108 km fromTaiwan's east coast. At present, the western two-thirds of the islandfalls under Taiwan's ADIZ.

An ADIZ differs from a flight information zone in that anyaircraft using the airspace needs to obtain advance approval of dueauthority. Unapproved flights can be viewed as an incursion.

Meanwhile, in view of the escalating tension on the KoreanPeninsula, the Defense Ministry has also formed a special ad hocgroup to monitor the situation there, Chao said.

(By S.P. Yeh and Flor Wang)