SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea said on Friday it had sent fighter jets to respond to a group of Russian and Chinese fighter jets that entered its buffer zone unexpectedly.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said it had detected seven Russian military planes and two Chinese in the country’s air defense identification zone off its east coast.
Anticipating these measures, South Korea had previously sent fighter jets and other planes to the region to avoid accidental clashes, but the Russian and Chinese planes left without entering South Korea’s territorial airspace. , said the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
China later told South Korea via a military communications channel that the flights were part of its routine military exercises with Russia.
“(We) assess the current situation as a joint exercise between China and Russia and further analysis is needed,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement.
Air defense identification zones generally extend beyond the country’s territory to allow more time to respond to potentially hostile aircraft. Military aircraft entering another country’s air defense identification zone are required to notify this in advance.
In recent years, Chinese and Russian fighter jets have frequently entered South Korea’s air defense identification zones, as they increasingly strain their muscles in the face of increasing competition. more intense with the United States.
In 2019, South Korea said its fighter jets fired hundreds of warning shots at a Russian military plane it said twice violated its national airspace off its east coast. . Russia then denied that its planes entered South Korean territory.