On Wednesday morning, two Chinese and six Russian jets flew through the South Korean air defense identification zone without warning. South Korea responded by scrambling its jets.
A pair of Chinese H-6 bombers first crossed the air defense zone shortly before 5:50 AM local time and proceeded to repeatedly fly over the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) off of South Korea’s southern and northeast coasts.
Around 7 AM on Monday, 2 Chinese bombers left South Korea’s KADIZ to return home after making a roundtrip of Russia, returning some hours later with the Russian warplanes.
One of the planes was a SU-35 fighter, and the other was a TU-95 bomber. The aircraft flew over Seoul’s air defense identification zone around 12:20 PM, using it as cover. Minutes later, the planes reportedly left South Korea’s KADIZ.
South Korea’s response to the aggression by deploying an indeterminate number of aircraft, including their F-15K jets, which officials said was a precautionary action.
The Joint Chief of Staff reported that military jets were deployed and up in a position to implement tactical measures ahead of the Chinese and Russian aircraft’s entry into the KADIZ, as well as for contingency plans for any future events related to this.
Despite the fact that South Korea’s military said that the foreign aircraft did not violate its territorial airspace, they still carried out a brisk search and continued to monitor the situation.
The ostensible definition of an air defense identification zone is any area beyond a country’s airspace in which it demands foreign aircraft identify themselves in order to enter. However, it is not defined in international treaties.
Russia and China don’t recognize the South Korean airspace they are flying in. They have made similar statements in the past, saying that their aircraft were conducting regular exercises at the time.
In August, the Joint Chiefs of Staff reported that Russian warplanes had entered the South Korean air defense zone.
An air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is actually not considered to be part of an airspace, which is the most important and is usually the nation’s territory or territorial waters.
Instead, it acts as a buffer zone where countries require foreign aircraft to identify themselves before entering their territory in order to prevent any possible security incidents.
Air defense zones are determined inconsistently by countries. Similarly, there are no international rules governing air defense zones, and Russia has not recognized South Korea’s KADIZ.
China hasn’t publicly commented on the Wednesday incident. Though, when asked about China’s stance on the territorial nature of the airspace, Beijing echoed comments made by U.S. Naval forces on Tuesday after they drove a missile cruiser near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
In response to increasingly aggressive force postures coming from North Korea, China, and Russia, the U.S. and South Korea have increased military practices with their partners like Japan and the Philippines.