December 23, 2020 09:25
Nineteen Chinese and Russian military aircraft buzzed Korea's air defense identification zone above the East Sea on Tuesday, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff here.
Korea scrambled F-15K and F-16 fighter jets "in preparation for accidental situations," a spokesman said.
The fly-bys are becoming a regular feature of the two big powers' military maneuvers in the region. The last time was in July.
According to the JCS, four Chinese H-6 bombers entered Korea's ADIZ from the west of the submerged shelf of Ieo around 8 a.m., and two of them flew over the east of Ulleung Island before leaving the zone.
Then 15 Russian Tupolev bomber and other fighter jets entered zone from the north without identifying themselves, which is a violation of international protocol.
Two of them left the zone east of Dokdo Islets, reentered it, then left it again. It took until 3 p.m. until they were all gone. None of them violated Korea's airspace proper. Once contacted, the Chinese pilots told Korean fighter pilots that it was "routine training." But the Russian aircraft entered the zone without prior notice.
"We believe that it was joint training by Chinese and Russian militaries," the spokesman added. The drill was probably a response to recent military activities by the U.S. and Japan in the region aimed at keeping China in check.
B1-B bombers have been deployed in Japan and the U.S. Forces Korea's Lockheed U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft flew over the South China Sea recently.
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