Last update: Fri, 12 Feb 2016 07pm

China 'regrets' South Korea air zone expansion

China expressed "regret" Monday at South Korea's expansion of its air defence identification zone, weeks after Beijing provoked regional fury by establishing its own. Seoul and Tokyo, along with Washington, which is in security alliances with them both, have all refused to accept Beijing's air defence identification zone (ADIZ). The Chinese ADIZ overlaps with both Japan and South Korea's, which were set up decades ago, and includes areas claimed by both countries.

Beijing has lashed out at historic rival Tokyo, with which it is embroiled in a row over islands in the East China Sea that has escalated since last year. But in contrast Beijing has sought to cultivate friendly relations with Seoul, even though the expanded South Korean ADIZ covers a contested submerged rock known as Ieodo in Korea and Suyan in China.

At a regular press briefing foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed regret over Seoul's announcement Sunday that it was expanding its ADIZ by about 66,480 square kilometres (25,670 square miles) - roughly two thirds the size of the country. "China expresses regret over the ROK's decision to expand its ADIZ," he said, referring to the formal name Republic of Korea.

"China will stay in communication with the ROK based on equality and mutual respect. We hope that the ROK will meet China halfway," he continued.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013