A Russian military aircraft violated South Korea’s airspace over the Dokdo Islands. A Russian A-50 early warning and control aircraft entered into the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) twice without prior notice Tuesday morning, prompting the deployment of South Korean military jets to intercept it. But the Russian jet did not leave immediately and violated the airspace over the Dokdo Islands. The Russian jet left the South Korean airspace briefly after South Korean jets fired warning shots in response, but entered it again about 20 minutes later to receive another warning shots and leave. Earlier on the day, two Chinese bombers and two other Russian bombers entered the Korea's air defence identification zone (KADIZ) near the Ulleung Island three times and left.
This is the first time that a foreign military aircraft violated our airspace since the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement. This is also the first time that Chinese and Russian military aircrafts simultaneously entered the KADIZ. The Russian plane’s violation of our airspace was very bold and dangerous. When it intruded into our airspace the first time, it received about 80 warning shots from South Korean jets but it entered into our airspace once again to get about 280 warning shots before it left. It should be looked into whether it was a mistake by a Russian pilot but from a common-sense point of view, it is an act done with an intention.
We should take note of the fact that China and Russia carried out a joint military exercise over the East Sea and violated our airspace in the process. The incident is associated with the unprecedented level of relations between China and Russia in recent years. The U.S. and China are in strategic competition in the Strait of Hormuz and in the Indo-Pacific region and Russia is siding with China. Russia and U.S. warships almost collided in East China Sea last month.
A violation of the KADIZ by Chinese and Russian military aircrafts has been on the rise for the past several years. China entered into the KADIZ without prior notice eight times last year, which is unacceptable given that South Korea’s airspace has exclusive sovereignty. A violation of sovereignty must be dealt with firmly. It is not enough for the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae to file a protest against Russia and summon Russian and Chinese ambassadors to South Korea. It should receive their formal apology and a promise to prevent the recurrence of such incident.
China and Russia are making a provocation, aiming at holes in trilateral cooperation among South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Japan’s attempt to amend its Pacifist Constitution gives justification for China and Russia’s military cooperation. Furthermore, souring relations between South Korea and Japan could cause China and Russia to make a misjudgment. If North Korea gets involved in this, Northeast Asia could become the training ground for North Korea, China, and Russia. This is why the South Korea-Japan relations should be restored based on a strong South Korea-U.S. alliance.