A Chinese military jet has entered South Korea’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) without notice three times Saturday, Yonhap news agency reported citing defense authorities.
The aircraft entered the country’s ADIZ, called the KADIZ, at around 8:03 a.m. near Ieo Island and exited at 8:27 a.m., according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). It re-entered the KADIZ at 9:34 a.m. near the southeastern city of Pohang, and flew between Ulleung and the easternmost islets of Dokdo, eventually leaving the air defense zone at 12:51 p.m.
The incident marked the first time for a Chinese military plane to fly over the East Sea this year. It also marked the first time for a Chinese military aircraft to fly between Ulleung and Dokdo.
According to the JSC, the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF) deployed fighter jets to track the aircraft and sent a warning message.
The South Korean defense ministry called in a military attache at China’s embassy in Seoul to lodge a protest and call for measures to prevent any recurrence. The defense ministry expressed concerns over the Chinese military jet’s entrance into South Korea’s air defense zone without prior notice. The ministry also urged Beijing to hold a working-level meeting to set up a military hotline between the two countries.
A section of the KADIZ overlaps with the air defense zones designated by China and Japan, a source of potential tension among the regional powers.
An Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is airspace over land or water in which the identification, location, and control of civil aircraft is performed in the interest of national security. They may extend beyond a country’s territory to give the country more time to respond to possibly hostile aircraft.