South Korea has summoned the Chinese Ambassador to lodge a complaint over a Chinese military aircraft entering the South’s air defense territory, the second such incident this year.
The Chinese aircraft flew for more than four hours inside South Korea’s air defense identification zone, prompting the South to scramble multiple fighter jets to track it.
The aircraft was told to “halt its threatening flight” and “any other actions that could raise the possibility of sudden conflict”, said the South Korean defence official, adding Chinese officials told South Korea’s military the aircraft’s movements had been part of regular military exercises.
China’s Ambassador Qiu Guohong was told the military jet’s flight into South Korean airspace had been unfortunate and urged to prevent similar instances from occurring again.
Three other Chinese officials based in South Korea had been summoned to the defense ministry earlier for the incident, which occurred near South Korea’s island off its east coast.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China’s sending of an aircraft for training in the “relevant air space” was completely in line with international law and practice.
“Air defence identification zones are not territorial air space. There is absolutely no justification for South Korea to criticise China on the basis of a so-called ADIZ,” Lu told a daily news briefing.
A Chinese military aircraft entered the Kadiz on January 29 while two similar instances were observed in 2017.