Foreign and Military Affairs

China asks ROK to ensure air safety

Updated: 2011-06-21 19:48
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BEIJING - China's Foreign Ministry called on the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Tuesday to ensure the safety of civil aircraft flying over it after the ROK marines mistakenly fired on a commercial jet coming in to land in Seoul after a flight from China.

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The plane was later identified as an Asiana Airlines Airbus A320 flying from China making its descent into Incheon, Seoul's main airport.

"We have taken note of the relevant report and expressed our concern to the ROK side through diplomatic channels," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news briefing.

"(We) hope that the ROK side takes effective steps to prevent such an incident from happening again and ensure the safety of civilian aircraft and their passengers flying over the ROK's airspace."

A ROK defence ministry source said the plane, carrying 119 passengers and crew, was undamaged as it was about 500 to 600 metres out of the range of the hand-held K-2 rifles.

Yonhap News Agency and other media said the soldiers believed the plane was flying north of the normal air corridor. Asiana officials told the agency the plane never left its scheduled course.

The shooting illustrated the level of tension between the two Koreas, still technically at war after the 1950-53 war ended.

The DPRK denies responsibility in the sinking last March of a ROK warship and says it was provoked in the second incident, the shelling of the ROK island of Yeonpyeong after the ROK test-fired shells into disputed waters.