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S. Korea, Russia to hold military meeting, discuss hotline establishment

Defense 08:45 October 23, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Russia were to hold a meeting of their joint military committee Wednesday to discuss the establishment of a military hotline as part of efforts to prevent accidental entry into each other's air defense identification zone, government sources said Wednesday.

The planned meeting, set to be held for two days until Thursday in Seoul, comes a day after six Russian military aircraft entered the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) over waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula four times without prior notice, prompting the Air Force to scramble around 10 fighter jets to turn them back.

Moscow, however, denied any violations, saying that its long-range aviation pilots regularly perform flights "in strict compliance with" international rules.

"During the talks, we will discuss ways to better exchange the flight information so as to prevent accidental clashes in the ADIZ, among others," the source said.

South Korea, once again, will lodge a complaint over Tuesday's incident and call on Russia to come up with measures to prevent any recurrences, another military source noted.

In its report submitted to the National Assembly for a parliamentary audit, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Seoul and Moscow are scheduled to hold the committee meeting "to discuss the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the hotline to exchange their flight information."

The two sides began discussing the matter in 2004 and wrapped up consultations on the draft of the envisioned MOU in November last year, it added.

This compilation photo shows Russia's A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft (top) and Tu-95 long-range bomber that entered South Korea's air defense identification zone on Oct. 22, 2019. The images were captured from official photos released by the Japanese and Russian defense ministries. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

So far this year, Russia violated the KADIZ 20 times.

On July 23, its A-50 aircraft also intruded into the South Korean airspace over Dokdo, leading the Air Force to fire hundreds of warning shots, in the first such case ever for South Korea.

The intrusion came shortly after two other Russian aircraft and two Chinese military aircraft breached the KADIZ between Dokdo and Ulleung Island several times in unusual joint air maneuvers between the two countries.

The air defense zone was first drawn in 1951 by the U.S. Air Force during the 1950-53 Korean War to prevent air clashes between nations surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Last year, Seoul expanded it to counter China's unilateral decision to expand its own to cover a reef and other islands off the southern coast.

The air zone is not part of a country's airspace and not bound by international law.

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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