Moscow and Seoul exchanged allegations after South Korea reported it was building fighter jets to drive out a Russian fighter aircraft that allegedly breached its airspace and caused a rare international incident that exacerbates the tensions between Seoul, Moscow and Beijing have.
The flare-up between Russia and a key USA. Allies in a region where Russian, Chinese and US interests converge in North Korea and could increase hostility between Washington and Moscow. The incident is also attributable to an increase in overflights of Chinese military aircraft near Korea, of which Seoul publicly accused Beijing at least six times in the past year.
The episode occurred during the first joint patrol of Russian and Chinese bombers What Moscow said were international waters. New to the two countries are joint patrols in the Far East who want to demonstrate their emerging military partnership. Moscow and Beijing are working on the details of a new military agreement that could strengthen bilateral cooperation in Europe and East Asia.
A Russian A-50 aircraft flew over Dokdo, a South Korean administrative island in South Korea, into the airspace between Korea and Japan. In response, South Korea has shot down 1
This is the first time that a Russian military aircraft violates South Korea's airspace, a senior South Korean official said.
Shortly before the Russian A-50 marched into South Korean airspace, two Russian Tu-95 bombers and two Chinese H-6 fighters, both capable of dropping nuclear weapons, entered the South Korean air defense zone. Air defense zones that are not part of a country's territory have been used by countries in the region to track each other's movements.
Dokdo Island is at the center of a longstanding territorial dispute with Japan. International tensions over the island could further undermine cooperation between US allies Seoul and Tokyo. The two were entangled in a series about trade and history.
Tokyo protested Tuesday against both Seoul and Moscow. Japan said South Korea had violated its sovereignty by flying over Takeshima, Japan's name for Dokdo, while Moscow had done the same by flying bombers there Chinese air defense zones, said Vasily Kashin, an expert in Russian-Chinese relations and the United States Moscow School of Economics.
While commercial flights often feature in China's identification zones, the military has pointed out what China has repeatedly objected to, he added.
Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for Beijing, said the Chinese government was aware of the issue, but that the incident did not violate South Korean sovereignty.
The Russian Defense Ministry denied that two of its bombers had injured South Koreans that Moscow does not recognize Seoul's ADIZ and that South Korean fighters conducted provocative and dangerous maneuvers there.
"South Korea has previously unsuccessfully attempted to disrupt Russian flights over the neutral waters of the Japanese Sea." Said the ministry.
Russia has expanded its military capabilities in the Far East in recent years, increasingly deploying S-400 air defense and bastion anti-ship systems in its eastern territories. Moscow has also slowly expanded the military. "Coordinated with Beijing and Chinese military invited to participate in Russia's annual strategic military exercises last year.
The military agree The connection between Moscow and Beijing is not yet fully understood, but the Authorities have announced that the two countries could exchange radar data from air defense and missile systems.
This incident is aimed at testing South Korean defense systems, said Oh Yeon-goon, a retired South Korean Air Force general.
Hong Hyun-ik Senior researcher at the Sejong Institute, a private think tank in Seoul, said the Russian violation of South Korean airspace was also a warning to Washington and Tokyo.
"This is a message to the US, Japan and South Korea:" If you strengthening the US-Japanese military alliance, we have no choice but mili to react aurally, "he said. -Dasl Yoon in Seoul and Jeremy Page in Beijing contributed to this article.
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