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S. Korea 'conferred' with US on expanded air defense zone

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (R) speaks with US Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on December 6, 2013
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (R) speaks with US Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on December 6, 2013

South Korea "conferred with the United States" ahead of expanding their air defense zone in a disputed area overlapping one recently announced by China, the US State Department said Sunday.

The South Korean government "conferred with the United States in advance of their decision," US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a communique.

She added that US officials "appreciate" Seoul's "efforts to pursue this action in a responsible, deliberate fashion by prior consultations with the United States and its neighbors, including Japan and China."

The two countries discussed the issue "including in the meeting" between Vice President Joe Biden and President Park Geun-Hye in Seoul on December 6.

"We also appreciate (South Korea's) commitment to implement this adjustment" to its air defense identification zone "in a manner consistent with international practice and respect for the freedom of overflight and other internationally lawful uses of international airspace."

This approach "avoids confusion for, or threats to, civilian airlines," Psaki said.

She added that the United States "will remain in close consultation with our allies and partners in the region to ensure their actions contribute to greater stability, predictability and consistency with international practices."

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