Two Russian Tu-95MS and four Chinese H-6K strategic bombers carried out the second joint air patrol over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday.
"The Russian Aerospace Force and the Air Force of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army conducted the second joint air patrol by long-range aircraft in the Asia-Pacific Region. The air group consisting of two Tu-95MS strategic bombers of Russia’s Aerospace Force and four Hong-6K strategic bombers of the Air Force of China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted the air patrol over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea," the ministry said in a statement, TASS reports.
The aircraft of both countries operated in strict compliance with the provisions of international law, the ministry stressed.
"There were no violations of the airspace of foreign states," it said.
As Russia’s Defense Ministry pointed out, "the measure was conducted as part of implementing the provisions of the 2020 military cooperation plan and is not aimed against third countries."
The air patrols are carried out to deepen and develop the Russian-Chinese relations, raise the level of interaction between the armed forces of both countries and improve their capabilities for conducting joint measures and strengthening global strategic stability, the ministry explained.
The newspaper Chosun Ilbo earlier reported, citing the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff that four Chinese and 15 Russian military aircraft had allegedly intruded into South Korea’s air defense identification zone (KADIZ), prompting Seoul to scramble its fighter jets.
The concept of the air defense identification zone, in which civil aircraft are identified, is not sealed in international law. The extension of such zones is declared by specific countries or territories and is not necessarily limited to their boundaries. As the South Korean military reported, the aircraft had flown over the Sea of Japan.
South Korea’s air defense identification zone
South Korea’s so-called air defense identification zone covers both the republic’s airspace and partially the area referred to the international airspace. Despite this, the South Korean military demand that they get information in advance about the intention to enter the identification zone and the goals of a flight. If they get no such information, they scramble warplanes for intercepts even if foreign aircraft do not violate the republic’s airspace.
In October 2019, when South Korea reported about the flight of Russian planes in the KADIZ zone, Russia’s embassy stressed that this zone had been established unilaterally and created no legal commitments for other states.