South Korea scrambles jets after eight Chinese, Russian warplanes entered its air defence zone

At least two Chinese bombers and six Russian bombers and fighter jets entered the Korean air defence zone on Wednesday prompting South Korea to scramble its fighter jets, said Seoul’s military. However, the planes did not violate the airspace, while China and Russia had previously said that they are conducting joint exercises.

Around 5:50 am (local time), two Chinese H-6 bombers entered the KADIZ off the coast of the southern and northeast regions of South Korea, said the JCS. Subsequently, two bombers along with Russian TU-95 bombers and SU-35 fighter jets re-entered the air defence zone from the  Sea of Japan and left after 18 minutes.

This move also prompted Japan’s Air Self Defence Force to scramble its fighter jets after the two Chinese bombers, accompanied by two Russian drones entered the Sea of Japan from the East China Sea, said Tokyo’s defence ministry, in a press release.

While this did not violate Seoul or Tokyo’s airspace, an air defence zone like the KADIZ requires foreign aircraft to specially identify themselves, however, there are no rules governing this space. Notably, Russia does not recognise Korea’s air defence zone, while Beijing believes that since it is not a territorial airspace every country should be able to move freely.