Taiwan says China planning to briefly close airspace amid military drills


TAIPEI, Taiwan — China plans to close airspace north of Taiwan for about half an hour next week, down from an originally announced three days, because of a falling object from a satellite launch vehicle, officials in Taiwan and South Korea said.

When asked about an earlier Reuters report on the airspace’s closing, Yan Yu-hsien, deputy chief of the general staff for intelligence from Taiwan’s defense ministry, said the “no-fly zone” would fall within the country’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), about 85 nautical miles north of its shores.

An ADIZ is a section of international airspace countries can arbitrarily define as theirs to monitor.

With no details initially on the duration of the closing, the reports had caused worry in the region with tensions high between China and Taiwan.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said he was unaware of the situation.

Japan said on Wednesday China had notified it about a no-fly zone near Taiwan from April 16-18, saying it related to aerospace activities. Taiwan’s transport ministry later said China had revised the zone’s duration to 27 minutes on Sunday, after a protest.

South Korea’s transport ministry said the closing was related to a falling object from a satellite launch vehicle.

When China imposed such restrictions during military drills last August, there were significant disruptions to flights in the region, with some aircraft required to carry extra fuel, according to OPSGROUP, an aviation industry cooperative that advises on flight risks.

Japanese authorities said that there were no major flight cancellations to or from Japan during those drills.


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