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BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Yonhap) -- China said Monday that it has "no territorial dispute" with Seoul over the South Korean-controlled submerged rock of Ieodo in the East China Sea, playing down a potential dispute between the two neighboring countries after Beijing declared an air defense zone that overlaps with that of South Korea.
China's defense ministry announced Saturday the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone, obligating all aircraft entering the area to report to Chinese authorities and follow their instructions. The new zone included Ieodo and a set of islands also claimed by Japan.
Qin Gang, a spokesman at China's foreign ministry, told a regular briefing that China hopes to resolve the issue with South Korea through "friendly consultations and negotiations."
"The ROK (South Korea) and China have no territorial dispute" over Ieodo, Qin replied, when asked about South Korea expressing regret over China's new air zone.
"The two sides will solve the issue through friendly consultations and negotiations," Qin said. "I also want to point out that China and the ROK are friendly neighbors. We hope, on this issue, that we can win coordination and understanding from the ROK side."
Ieodo lies within the overlapping area of the economic zones of South Korea and China. Although international maritime law stipulates that a submerged rock cannot be claimed as territory by any country, South Korea effectively controls Ieodo, which is closer to it than any other country.
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