South Korea was forced to mobilise its air force in response to aerial incursions from Chinese and Russian military aircraft.
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According to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), two Chinese and six Russian military aircraft entered the Republic of Korea’s air defence identification zone (KADIZ) on Wednesday, 30 November.
The aircraft included two People’s Liberation Army Air Force H-6 bombers, Russian TU-95 bombers and SU-35 fighter jets.
South Korea swiftly mobilised its own forces after detecting the breach.
“Our military dispatched air force fighter jets ahead of the Chinese and Russian aircraft’s entry of the KADIZ to implement tactical measures in preparation for a potential contingency,” the JCS noted in a statement.
Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force also deployed fighter jets to ward off Chinese bombers, which flew from the East China Sea into the Sea of Japan.
The incursions came just weeks after the 54th ROK-US Security Consultative Meeting (SCM) between Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
During his visit to the United States, South Korea’s defence minister toured Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
The meeting sought to reaffirm a commitment to deepen defence ties between the nations, building deterrence and heightening security amid growing regional stability, which includes persistent threats from North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
“We are keeping an eye on North Korea’s consistent efforts to escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, including its recent nuclear threat,” Minister Lee Jong-sup said.
“The unprecedented visit by the Defense ministers of the ROK and the United States to a US strategic asset has great significance in that if North Korea launches a nuclear provocation, ROK and the US will respond in a completely different and much stricter way than ever before.
“This visit will serve as a strong warning to North Korea and a significant message to the South Korean people, which will dramatically strengthen trust in bilateral efforts for extended deterrence.”