South Korea has readied its fighter jets after identifying Chinese and Russian fighter planes inside its air defense zone.
The Chinese H-6 bombers, the twin-engine jet bomber, two in number, entered the defense zone and left the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (KADIZ) off the southern and northeast coast at around 5:50 am local time, according to the South Korean military.
The Chinese bombers came back from the Sea of Japan along with the Russian fighter planes, TU-95 bombers, and SU-35 fighter jets, totaling six, and stayed inside the Korean defense zone for 18 minutes before leaving.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in a statement said, “Our military dispatched air force fighter jets ahead of the Chinese and Russian aircraft’s entry of the KADIZ to implement tactical measures in preparation for a potential contingency.”
He added, “The planes did not violate South Korea’s airspace.”
Following the Chinese bombers’ flight from the East China Sea into the Sea of Japan, where they were joined by two Russian drones, Japan also scrambled fighter jets, according to a later statement from its defense ministry.
Countries that require unique identification from foreign aircraft call this area “air defense zones.”
There are no international regulations governing air defense zones, in contrast to a nation’s airspace, which is the region above its territory and territorial waters.
Russia does not recognize South Korea’s air defense zone. China opined that the airspace does not come under a territory and that every country should enjoy the freedom of movement there.
China and Russia have earlier maintained that their warplanes have been running regular joint exercises.
This is not the first instance of Russian warplanes entering the KADIZ.
The JCS also said that Russian aircraft were reportedly detected entering the zone in August.
When in 2019 the Russian aircraft entered the KADIZ while conducting a joint exercise with the Chinese aircraft b, the South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots toward them.