Leadership: The Only Hotline To China


November 29,2008: China and South Korea have set up a military hotline, to avoid accidental clashes between their sea and air forces. At each end, military personnel are on duty 24/7, prepared to quickly defuse any encounters. The South Korea end of the hot line is at the headquarters of the South Korean 2nd Fleet, which is 70 kilometers south of the capital, Seoul. South Korean Air Force officers, based at the Daegu air base, 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, are linked to the 2nd Fleet hotline operation. The Chinese end of the hotline is at their Northern Fleet headquarters at Qingdao (formerly "Tsingtao") at the tip of the Shandong peninsula, which is on the 38th parallel, pointing at Korea, across the Yellow Sea.

This hotline is the only one that exists with China. South Korea also has a hotline with Japan (established in 1997) and Russia (established in 2000). The principal point of friction at sea is the nearly 200 Chinese fishing boats that enter South Korean waters illegally each year,  seeking the valuable crabs found there. Chinese and South Korean warships patrol the area, to try and prevent the poaching, and sometimes encounter each other. Both nations also fly air patrols over the Yellow Sea.


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