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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on March 1)

2018/03/01 09:18

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Eyeing Chinese aggression

Seoul summoned Chinese ambassador and military attachés to protest the intrusion by a Chinese military aircraft into the Korean air defense identification zone (Kadiz) on Tuesday.

The jet flew into the zone and remained in Korea’s eastern airspace for more than four hours without prior approval before retreating upon a warning from host authorities.

No foreign aircraft can enter another country’s air zone without authorization. The unauthorized entry prompted the Korean military to fly 10 jets to the location while two Chinese fighters stood by along the southwestern coast.

China has intruded upon Korean airspace twice already this year after Jan. 29. The plane believed to be a reconnaissance design is suspected to have flown to the South on an intelligence mission ahead of a South Korea-United States combined military drill, which will be carried out once the Paralympics end.

China has become bolder in surveillance.

The latest jet flew 54 kilometers (34 miles) northwest of Ulleung Island in the East Sea, marking its closest approach over Korean waters. Authorities suspect another motive behind the regular and intentional sky intrusion.

China could be on a regular military drill, but it could also be trying to extend its influence through a display of military prowess.

China's ramped-up aggression comes amid suspicion of Chinese President Xi Jinping trying to stretch his rule beyond 10 years.

The China's ruling Communist Party plans to scrap presidential term limits. Xi and the party is justifying the leadership extension as a means to achieve Xi’s promise of empowering China and global leadership.

Xi has promised to build the most powerful military by 2050.

This military buildup could raise tension in the region. We must respond boldly and keep a close watch on Beijing to see its intentions and build resilience against Chinese ascension.

(END)

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