South Korea is literally at the center of international conflict as tensions in the eastern hemisphere escalate. The notorious Kim Jong-un of North Korea, whose antics and military tests keep Seoul on its toes, as well as China and Russia, two significant global players whose alliance is already shaking up the status quo and causing South Korea a fair share of stress, are neighbors of the longtime US ally.
On November 30, without anyone knowing they were coming, two Chinese H-6 bombers flew into South Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ). They returned carrying six new pals — Russian warplanes — after repeatedly navigating the nation’s northern and southern air defense zones. Unknown numbers of F-15K fighter jets were scrambled by the South Korean Air Force in response.
South Korea (🇰🇷) scrambled fighter jets after two Chinese (🇨🇳) H-6 bombers repeatedly entered and left the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone.— Aerospace Intelligence (@space_osint) November 30, 2022
The bombers later returned from the Sea of Japan with six Russian (🇷🇺) warplanes, including TU-95 bombers and SU-35 fighter jets. pic.twitter.com/hSGdPuvioF
Moscow joined China in eluding South Korea’s defense lines by sending two SU-35 fighters and four TU-95 bombers. A country will normally utilize an Air Defense ID zone as a buffer zone to demand that foreign aircraft identify themselves before entering their actual territorial airspace. The area therefore doesn’t serve as a formal border.
China thinks any nation has the right to use the airspace because the KADIZ, which Russia does not recognize, is not a territorial airspace. The similar reasoning was applied on November 29 by a US missile cruiser as it approached the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. Consequently, recent incursions into the KADIZ could be a reaction to what the US is doing.
It can also be a hint that the region’s escalating tensions are about to explode.