Bolton’s Visit to South Korea Marked by Airspace Border Conflict with Russia & China

South Korea is accusing a Russian military plane of violating its airspace over the Sea of Japan—forcing it to fire hundreds of warning shots. But Russia is denying the claims and accusing South Korea of endangering the security of its pilots with unprofessional maneuvers.

South Korea is claiming its air force fired around 360 warning shots on Tuesday, after a Russian military plane invaded its airspace. But Russia has denied the accusations and claimed instead that its aircrafts were in international airspace, and that they made their flight plan known and did not deviate from it.

The incident happened over the Sea of Japan while Russia and China were conducting a joint air patrol mission in the Asia-Pacific. South Korea claims there were three Russian military planes and two Chinese warplanes that entered its air defense identification zone.

They say it was one of the Russian planes that specifically flew into South Korea’s airspace twice.

However, Russia has maintained that it complied with international law, and has accused South Korea of acting unprofessionally by firing warning shots that threatened Russia’s national security.

When asked to comment on the claims that Russia violated South Korea’s airspace, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry argued that the word “violate” should not be used because there are still unknown details surrounding the incident.

You mentioned the entering of Chinese military airplanes into South Korea’s Air Defense Identification Zone. I am not clear about the situation,” said spokesperson Hua Chunying. “But you mentioned the world ‘violate’ and I feel that given China and South Korea are friendly neighbors, we should be careful to use it because we are not clear about the situation.”

It should be noted that back in 2013, South Korea expanded its air defense identification zone for the first time in 62 years, in the midst of an ongoing dispute over territory between China and Japan.

So China is claiming that even though South Korea may believe the airspace is theirs, it is not fully recognized under international law.

South Korea’s foreign ministry immediately summoned the acting ambassadors from Russia and China, along with military officers from Russia.

South Korea claimed the purpose of the meeting was to file a formal complaint over the incident. But this is also the first time it has accused Russia of violating its airspace.

So although we have two sides accusing each other of endangering the other country’s security, there is hope that by turning to in-person dialogue, they can come to a resolution before any more military action is used.

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Rachel Blevins is a journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives.

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