[WORLD] Tensions Rise amid China’s claim for Air Space zone

D-Bo, Nov. 29, 2013, 4:09 p.m.

Tensions are mounting for the Chinese and Korean Governments amid China’s announcement of their claim to air space in.  China's unilateral announcement of an air defense identification zone has heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington and put South Korea in a bind since it relies on the two superpowers for business and security.

In the summer of 2010, South Korea and the U.S. held a massive joint military exercise on the West Sea as a show of force against North Korea after the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan. The drill included U.S. aircraft carriers. China protested vehemently, prompting the South and the U.S. to hold the drills in the East Sea instead. The incident demonstrates the ramifications that clashing Chinese and U.S. interests can have on South Korean policies. 

Beijing is suspicious of any closing of ranks between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. The government here has always been cautious in approaching the issue. The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet has often called for closer coordination in joint naval exercises involving the South, the U.S. and Japan. And while the U.S. and Japan have sought intensive military drills involving mock naval combat exercises, South Korea has only taken part in search and rescue operations for fear of alarming China. 

If tensions mount between the U.S. and China, South Korea would come under greater pressure to take sides.

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