Tokyo lodged a protest with Seoul and Moscow after South Korean fighter jets had been scrambled to intercept a Russian warplane over the Liancourt Rocks located in the Sea of Japan, the Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.
"Such activities over our territory are unacceptable," the Japanese government said. The protest was lodged through diplomatic channels, TASS reports.
The Liancourt Rocks, called Takeshima in Japan, are disputed by Tokyo and Seoul. Japan claims that South Korea illegally occupied the territory that had been included in the Empire of Japan in 1905. The South Korean authorities, as well as the North Korean leadership, say that the islets has always been part of the Korean state.
The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff alleged earlier on Tuesday that three Russian and two Chinese warplanes had violated the country’s air defense identification zone over the Liancourt Rocks. In response, South Korea’s F-15 jets were scrambled and fired warning shots.
South Korea’s air defense identification zone includes not only the country’s airspace but also a segment of international airspace. The South Korean military demands that aircraft give early warnings about plans to enter the zone. If an aircraft fails to do so, warplanes are scrambled to intercept it even if the country’s airspace is not violated.
The Russian Defense Ministry repeatedly points out that the Airspace Force conducts flights in accordance with international rules. On Tuesday, the ministry said that two Russian Tupolev Tu-95MS strategic bombers had conducted a scheduled flight above the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan without violating other countries’ airspace.