South Korea deploys jets against air intrusion by China, Russia

SEOUL • South Korea's military said yesterday it scrambled fighter jets after two Chinese and seven Russian warplanes intruded into its air defence identification zone during what Beijing called regular training.

The Chinese and Russian aircraft entered the north-eastern part of the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone (Kadiz) for an unspecified period, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, adding that they did not violate its airspace.

The JCS dispatched fighter jets and air refuelling tankers as a usual precautionary step.

The Chinese military said in response to a query that its planes were carrying out routine drills, the JCS said. "We assess the situation as joint Chinese and Russian military exercises but additional analysis is needed," the JCS said.

Chinese and Russian warplanes have often entered the zone in recent years amid conflicting claims over various Air Defence Identification Zones (Adiz).

Unlike airspace, an Adiz is usually an area where countries may unilaterally demand that foreign aircraft take special steps to identify themselves. There are no international laws covering such zones.

Moscow does not recognise Kadiz, while Beijing said the area is not territorial airspace and all countries should enjoy freedom of movement there.

In 2019, Seoul's warplanes fired warning shots towards Russian military aircraft which entered South Korean airspace during a joint air patrol with China. South Korea and Japan scrambled jets to intercept the patrol, accusing Russia and China of violating their airspace. Moscow and Beijing denied it.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2021, with the headline 'South Korea deploys jets against air intrusion by China, Russia'. Subscribe