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South Korea scrambles jets as China, Russia warplanes enter air defense zone

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
South Korean Air Force KF-16 fighter jets at an airbase in Gunsan, South Korea, on November 1, 2022 (file photo by Reuters)

South Korea's military says it scrambled fighter jets as Chinese and Russian warplanes entered its air defense zone.

Fighter jets were scrambled as two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered the country's air defense zone on Wednesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said on Wednesday.

The Chinese H-6 bombers repeatedly entered and left the Korea Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) off South Korea's southern and northeast coasts starting at around 5:50am (2050 GMT Tuesday), the JCS said.

They re-entered the zone hours later from the Sea of Japan, known in Korea as the East Sea, joined by the Russian warplanes, including TU-95 bombers and SU-35 fighter jets, the JCS added.

The aircraft did not violate South Korea's airspace, the JCS noted.

An air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is the airspace of a country plus an additional wider area over land and water in which a country tries to identify, locate, and control any civil aircraft in the interest of its national security. They are declared unilaterally by each country and are not recognized by any international treaty.

In a similar occurrence, US fighters earlier intercepted two Russian bombers in the international airspace close to the northern US state of Alaska.

United States Air Force F-16 fighters escorted two Russian Tupolev Tu-95 combat bombers after they entered the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said in a statement on October 18, 2022.

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