Seoul says Russian and Chinese warplanes entered the air buffer zone

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA – South Korea said Friday it sent fighter jets in response to a group of Russian and Chinese fighter jets without warning.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected seven Russian and two Chinese military planes in the air defense identification zone off the country’s east coast.

Anticipating the moves, South Korea sent fighter jets and other aircraft to the area to prevent accidental clashes, but the Russian and Chinese planes left without infringing. territory of South Korea, said the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

China later told South Korea through a military communication channel that the flights were part of its regular military exercises with Russia.

“(We) assess the current situation as a joint China-Russia exercise and require additional analysis,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the Russian military was conducting joint air patrols with China.

On Friday, “an air group consisting of two Tu-95MS strategic bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces and two Hun-6K strategic bombers of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force China has carried out air patrols over the waters of the Sea of ​​Japan. and the East China Sea,” it said.

The ministry said the joint patrol was carried out in order to further develop Russia-China relations, improve coordination between the two armed forces and to “enhance global strategic stability”.

Air defense identification zones often extend beyond the country’s territory to give more time to react to potentially hostile aircraft. Military aircraft entering the air defense identification zone of another country must notify that country in advance.

Chinese and Russian warplanes have frequently entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone in recent years as they have increasingly flexed their muscles amid growing competition with the United States.

In 2019, South Korea said its warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military plane that it said had twice violated national airspace off its western coast. east of this country. Russia later denied that its plane entered South Korean territory.

Associated Press writer Daria Litvinova in Moscow contributed to this report.


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