South Korea sends up jets to warn Russian warplanes in air defense zone
South Korea scrambled fighter jets in late October 2019 to warn Russian warplanes they had entered South Korea’s airspace identification zone, the latest in a series of such incidents.
Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said six Russian military aircraft had repeatedly entered the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) over a six-hour period. An ADIZ, unlike a nation’s airspace, is where countries may demand that foreign aircraft take special steps to identify themselves.
Russia’s defense ministry denied that its bombers, which were accompanied by other Russian warplanes, had violated any country’s airspace and said that they had flown over neutral waters in the Sea of Japan, Yellow Sea and East China Sea.
The Russian authorities said that South Korean as well as Japanese fighter jets had accompanied two Russian strategic bombers on part of what it said was a planned patrol, Interfax news agency reported.
The wedge of sea between Japan, Russia and the Korean Peninsula has long been a flashpoint amid a series of regional airspace disputes.
“Our military urgently dispatched fighter jets to track and monitor the aircraft and broadcast warning messages,” the JCS said in a statement, adding that the incident marked the 20th breach of KADIZ by a Russian military plane in 2019.
(Pictured: MiG-29 fighter jets of Unit 1017 of the Korean People’s Army Air and Anti-Air Force fly during a flight training at undisclosed location.)
Three months earlier in July, South Korean warplanes fired flares and hundreds of warning shots near Russian bombers that violated South Korean airspace during what Moscow said was its first long-range joint regional air patrol with China.
There were no warning shots fired during the October incident because the Russian aircraft did not enter South Korean territorial airspace, Seoul’s military said.
South Korean and Russian military officials were scheduled to hold talks on plans to open a hotline between their air forces as part of efforts to rein in unreported ADIZ entries.