Fighters scrambled after Russian, Chinese military aircraft enter South Korean defense zone
South Korea on Tuesday said it had scrambled fighter jets after nearly 20 Russian and Chinese military aircraft entered its air defense identification zone.
According to Reuters, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said that it identified four Chinese warplanes and 15 Russian aircraft entering its Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ).
In response, the South Korean military dispatched fighter aircrafts, although the Chinese military eventually told South Korea that its planes were conducting routine training.
The JCS confirmed in a statement that the incident appeared to be “a joint military drill between China and Russia,” but added the event “requires further analysis,” Reuters reported.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that the country’s foreign ministry told both China and Russia Tuesday that their planes should not again enter the KADIZ.
This comes after the South Korean military announced in July of last year that it had fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military aircraft conducting a joint air patrol with China when it entered the KADIZ.
Seoul’s defense agency said at the time that it was the first such incident by Russia’s military.
Reuters reported that Russia’s Defense Ministry said it did not recognize South Korea’s defense zone over the island of Dokdo, which Japan also claims authority over and calls Takeshima.
The Russian agency also reportedly said in a statement that South Korea did not fire any warning shots toward Russia’s two bombers. The statement did not mention the A-50 aircraft the Koreans claimed to have fired toward.
The ministry accused the two South Korean F-16 fighter planes of carrying out “unprofessional maneuvers.”
“It was not the first time that South Korean pilots tried unsuccessfully to prevent Russian aircraft from flying over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan,” the Russian ministry reportedly said at the time.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the area was not territorial airspace and that all countries enjoyed freedom of movement in it, according to Reuters.
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