South Korea’s military scrambled its jets after two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered its Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) without warning early Wednesday morning.
Two Chinese H-6 bombers crossed the air defense zone for the first time just before 5:50 a.m. and continued to repeatedly overfly the KADIZ borders off South Korea’s southern and northeastern coasts, the official said. chief of the joint staff, according to the Seoul-based Yonhap newspaper.
After leaving South Korea’s KADIZ around 7 am, the two Chinese bombers returned about five hours later with Russian warplanes, including 4 TU-95 bombers and 2 SU-35 fighters, and flew over the area of identification of Seoul Air Defense across the Sea of Japan around 12. :20:00
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The planes reportedly left South Korea’s KADIZ less than 20 minutes later.
South Korea has responded to the aggression by deploying an unspecified number of aircraft, including F-15K jets, in a precautionary move.
“Our military has dispatched air force fighter jets ahead of Chinese and Russian aircraft entering KADIZ to carry out tactical measures in preparation for a potential emergency,” the Joint Chief of Staff said in a statement according to a Reuters report. .
South Korea’s military said that despite crossing its defense identification zone, the foreign aircraft did not violate Seoul’s territorial airspace.
An Air Defense Identification Zone is not considered part of a nation’s airspace – which is any airspace above its territory or territorial waters – but instead serves as a buffer zone where countries require foreign aircraft to identify themselves to prevent accidental accidents.
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There are no international rules governing air defense zones and Russia does not recognize South Korea’s KADIZ.
China has not yet publicly commented on Wednesday’s incident. Although, according to a Reuters report, Beijing has argued that the airspace is non-territorial and therefore open to use by any nation, a stance that echoed comments made by US naval forces on Tuesday after it guided a nearby missile cruiser to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. .
The United States and South Korea have increased joint military exercises in coordination with regional partners such as Japan and the Philippines in the wake of increasingly aggressive positions of strength from North Korea, China and Russia.
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Beijing and Moscow have strengthened their ties since Russia invaded Ukraine nine months ago and Moscow has increasingly sought to strengthen ties with North Korea.
The United States and its regional and western allies have warned all three nations against altering the status quo in the South China Sea.