South Korea’s Defence Ministry confirmed the unusual incident with the Russian military aircraft on Tuesday. As Yonhap news agency reported citing South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, the South Korean Air Force scrambled fighter jets in response and fired warning shots at Russian plane.
After the Russian military aircraft have violated South Korea’s airspace above the Sea of Japan twice, Defence Ministry said it plans to summon Russian and Chinese Embassy officials to register formal protests.
The unusual incident on Tuesday has perplexed the South Korean military. On Tuesday morning at around 9 am, three Russian military aircraft and two Chinese Air Force planes entered South Korea’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ). One Russian aircraft violated South Korea’s again, at 9:30 am.
South Korea’s Ministry of Defence reiterated that is not the first time when the Russian plane violates South Korean airspace. A month ago, South Korea scrambled fighter jets to intercept Russia’s Tu-95 strategic bombers that entered its ADIZ.
Tuesday air incident occurred above a group of South Korean-held islets roughly halfway between South Korea and Japan. Over the decades, these remain a source of territorial disputes between them but Russia isn’t a party in those disputes.
The unusual incident will be investigated
The incident is unusual because of Russia’s partaking. In fact, East Asia is riven by dozens of long-standing territorial disputes but nor Moscow neither Seoul comes into those conflicts. However, their only point of contention is the island of Noktundo. According to the Russian foreign ministry, Noktundo is its own territory but Seoul maintains is an important part of South Korean territory.
In mid-June, top Russian and South Korean leaders met at the G20 in Osaka, Japan, where they praised their improving bilateral relations. Russian Putin said South Korea was «one of our key partners» in Asian region.