NewsSouth Korean fighter jets scrambled as Chinese and Russian military aircraft infringed defense protocol

South Korean fighter jets scrambled as Chinese and Russian military aircraft infringed defense protocol

Russian and Chinese military aircraft appeared over the East Sea, near the South Korean coasts.
Russian and Chinese military aircraft appeared over the East Sea, near the South Korean coasts.
Images source: © Getty Images | © 2016 Bloomberg Finance LP
6:13 AM EST, December 14, 2023

Chinese and Russian aircraft entered the airspace over the East Sea without providing notification. As reported by the South Korean military, the squadron comprised four military aircraft from Russia and two from China.

This incident raised alarm within the South Korean defense framework, prompting the activation of the defense procedure. Fighter jets were subsequently dispatched to the maritime air defense zone.

The Yonhap agency has stated that this aviation situation, caused by Chinese and Russian pilots, endured for only a few minutes. It should be noted that although these aircraft entered the observed area, they did not violate South Korea's territorial airspace, as clarified by Seoul.

Nonetheless, the fact remains that these six pilots violated military aviation procedures. While the air defense zone is not considered part of sovereign airspace, its boundaries are clearly defined to require foreign aircraft to identify themselves. This protocol was established to prevent inadvertent encounters in the airspace.

Chinese and Russian military aircraft enter South Korean defense zone

As disclosed by Reuters, the International Civil Aviation Organization defines an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) as an area where a country can unilaterally require foreign aircraft to undergo special identification procedures. This is different from a country's airspace, which is generally defined as the space over its territory, typically extending about 13.9 miles (approximately 22.5 km) from its coastline.

In contrast to airspace, there are no international rules that govern air defense zones. Moreover, Russia does not recognize the Korean regulations. Conversely, Beijing has consistently maintained that all nations should enjoy the right to freedom of movement in these areas.

Related content