South Korea scrambles its jets after planes from Russia and China enter air defense zone

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FILE – In this photo provided by South Korean Defense Ministry, two U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers, top center, four South Korean Air Force F-35 fighter jets and four US Air Force F-16 fighter jets fly over South Korea Peninsula during a joint air drill called “Vigilant Storm,” in South Korea on Nov. 5, 2022. (South Korean Defense Ministry via AP, File) AP

South Korea scrambles its jets after planes from Russia and China enter air defense zone

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South Korea scrambled its fighter jets on Wednesday after several warplanes from both China and Russia entered its air defense zone.

A pair of Chinese H-6 bombers entered the air defense zone at approximately 5:50 a.m. local time and proceeded to repeatedly leave and reenter the zone, according to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two planes left around 7 a.m. only to return around 12:20 p.m. with six Russian warplanes, which included four TU-95 bombers and two SU-35 fighter jets, and then left the area after 18 minutes, according to Fox News.

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“Our military dispatched air force fighter jets ahead of the Chinese and Russian aircraft’s entry of the KADIZ to implement tactical measures in preparation for a potential contingency,” the JCS said in a statement.

In response to the foreign planes entering the air zone, South Korea deployed an indeterminate number of aircraft, including F-15K jets, according to officials. The entry of the Chinese and Russian aircraft did not violate South Korea’s airspace, the JCS said.

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An air defense zone is defined as an area where countries ask foreign aircraft to identify themselves. Air defense zones differ from the airspace of a country, which is the air above a country’s territory and territorial waters. Additionally, there are no international rules governing air defense zones, unlike airspaces.

Moscow does not recognize Korea’s air defense zone, and Beijing claims that the zone is not territorial airspace. Both China and Russia previously said their warplanes were conducting regular joint exercises, according to Reuters.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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