S. Korea de­ploys F-15K, KF-16 fight­ers to force Rus­sian mil­i­tary air­crafts out of KADIZ

The Korea Times - - PM’S JAPAN VISIT -

Six Rus­sian mil­i­tary air­craft vi­o­lated South Korea’s air de­fense iden­ti­fi­ca­tion zone on Tues­day, prompt­ing the Air Force to scram­ble fighter jets to turn them back, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

An A-50 early-warn­ing air­craft, three SU-27 fighter jets and two TU-95 bombers en­tered the Korean Air De­fense Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion Zone (KADIZ) four times be­tween 9:23 a.m. and 2:44 p.m. with­out prior no­tice and stayed in the zone for about four hours in to­tal be­fore leav­ing at around 3:13 p.m., ac­cord­ing to the JCS.

The war­planes breached the KADIZ over wa­ters sur­round­ing the Korean Penin­sula, in­clud­ing the coun­try’s east­ern­most islets of Dokdo and the island of Ulle­ung in the East Sea; above the south­ern city of Po­hang and the island of Jeju and ar­eas in the Yel­low Sea.

But none of the air­craft vi­o­lated South Korea’s ter­ri­to­rial airspace, the

JCS said.

Upon de­tect­ing the first plane en­ter­ing KADIZ over Ulle­ung Island, the South Korean Air Force de­ployed some 10 fight­ers, in­clud­ing F-15K and KF-16 jets, which “had taken due mea­sures” of track­ing the air­craft and send­ing warn­ing mes­sages to force them out, ac­cord­ing to the JCS.

The lat­est vi­o­la­tion brought the to­tal num­ber of en­tries by Rus­sian air­craft into KADIZ so far this year to 20.

On July 23, a Rus­sian A-50 air­craft in­truded into South Korea’s ter­ri­to­rial airspace over Dokdo twice, lead­ing the Air Force to fire hun­dreds of warn­ing shots.

The in­tru­sion came shortly af­ter two other Rus­sian air­craft and two Chi­nese mil­i­tary air­craft breached the KADIZ be­tween Dokdo and Ulle­ung Island sev­eral times in un­usual joint air ma­neu­vers be­tween the two coun­tries.

In Au­gust, two Rus­sian TU-142 pa­trol planes also vi­o­lated the KADIZ over the East Sea.

In or­der to pre­vent such cases, South Korea and Rus­sia have been push­ing to set up a mil­i­tary hot­line be­tween their air forces to ex­change their flight in­for­ma­tion, ac­cord­ing to the JCS.

The two sides be­gan dis­cussing the mat­ter in 2004 and wrapped up con­sul­ta­tions on the draft of the en­vi­sioned MOU in November last year, it added.

The air de­fense zone was first drawn in 1951 by the U.S. Air Force dur­ing the 1950-53 Korean War to pre­vent air clashes be­tween na­tions sur­round­ing the Korean Penin­sula. Last year, Seoul ex­panded it to counter China’s uni­lat­eral de­ci­sion to ex­pand its own to cover a reef and other is­lands off the south­ern coast.

The air zone is not part of a coun­try’s air space and not bound by in­ter­na­tional law.

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