South Korea Protests Chinese and Russian Military Aircraft Incursion into Air Defense Zone

SEOUL - The South Korean Defense Ministry filed a formal protest on Friday against China and Russia following an unauthorized entry of their military aircraft into South Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ) in the East Sea. This incident, which occurred on Thursday, did not involve a violation of South Korea's airspace but raised significant concerns within the country's defense establishment.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the incident involved two Chinese and four Russian military aircraft entering the KADIZ and later exiting it. This prompted the South Korean Air Force to deploy fighter jets to the area in response. In the aftermath of this incursion, Lee Seung-bom, the director general for international policy at the ministry, communicated the country's objections to military attaches at the Chinese and Russian embassies in Seoul through separate phone calls.

"The defense ministry expressed regrets to China and Russia over their military aircraft's flight into the sensitive areas close to our air space without prior notice," the ministry stated in a press release. Furthermore, the ministry urged both countries to implement measures to avoid similar occurrences in the future, highlighting that such activities could escalate regional tensions.

The South Korean Foreign Ministry also took action by conveying its concerns through diplomatic channels to both China and Russia. They emphasized the need for measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.

The air defense identification zone, while not a part of territorial airspace, serves as a buffer region where foreign aircraft are required to identify themselves to avoid unintended confrontations.

Responding to these developments, the defense ministries of China and Russia stated on Thursday that the joint reconnaissance flight was part of their annual cooperation plans. They maintained that the flights were conducted in accordance with international laws.

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