[Global Times Special Reporter in South Korea, Qiao Yu-peng Liu Chen] Chinese Ministry of Defense spokesman, Colonel Wu Qian, confirmed on July 24 that on July 23, the air forces of China and Russia organized the first joint air strategic cruise in Northeast Asia. The Chinese side dispatched two bomb-6K aircraft in a mixed formation with two Tu-95 aircraft from the Russian side to organize joint cruises in the relevant airspace of the Japan Sea and the East China Sea on the basis of established routes. During the flight, the air force aircraft of the two countries strictly abided by the relevant provisions of international law and did not enter the airspace of other countries. This action is part of the annual cooperation plan between the two armies, not aimed at third parties. But in South Korea, the incident triggered a lot of confusion, embarrassment and speculation. The South Korean government first said on the 24th that Russia would apologize for admitting that military aircraft had mistakenly entered Korean airspace, but this statement was denied by the Russian side. South Koreas Central Daily commented on the significance of the Sino-Russian operation on the 24th: The first joint air strategic cruise between China and Russia indicates that the two countries will break through theIndo-Pacific Strategydominated by the United States and Japan.
South Koreas military said Wednesday that three Russian military aircraft and two Chinese military aircraft entered the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone in succession that morning, and one Russian aircraft twice broke into Korean airspace near Dokdo (Japan called Bamboo Island). Later, the Russian side denied entering Korean airspace, and accused the Korean aircraft crossing Russian airlines and threatening its safety as air rogue behavior.
On the 24th, South Korea suddenly sent out a message of Russian apology. Yoon Daohan, Chief Secretary of Communication between Qingwatai and the People, said at a press conference Thursday that Russias Deputy military officer in South Korea told the policy planning officer of the Ministry of Defense of South Korea on the afternoon of 23 that the Russian Ministry of Defense would immediately investigate the incident and take all necessary measures. The Russian side initially believed that the military aircraft flew into the unscheduled airspace because of equipment failure. According to the Russian side, this flight is a part of the joint flight training planned by Russia and China in advance. If the flight is based on the scheduled route, there will be no violation of Korean airspace by military aircraft. Russia respects international law as well as Korean law. The flight has no intention of violating airspace. Russia is willing to work with South Korea to further develop bilateral relations. The report also said that Russia would apologize for the incident through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense and the media.
The news was subsequently denied by the Russian side. Russian Embassy spokesman Banikov said Moscow did not apologize to South Korea for the incident in Japans sea and air, according to a Russian newspaper Source reported on Tuesday. We have seen some news in the Korean media, including what the Deputy military officer said, which is not in line with reality. Russia has not formally apologized to South Korea. South Koreas defense ministry criticized Russia on 24 for changing its mouth and denying air violations, saying it was self-contradictory with Russias statement through diplomatic channels yesterday, Yonhap said. On the 25th, South Korea and Russia will hold working consultation at the director level in Seoul to discuss this issue.
Russian air force commander Lieutenant General Sergei Koberashi said that Russian bombers flew 11 hours and 9,000 kilometers in a joint patrol operation between Russia and China on the 23rd, the Russian Tass News Agency reported on Tuesday. The Russian crew acted in strict compliance with the flight plan. According to surveillance data, there was no violation of Korean and Japanese airspace. The nearest plane to the disputed island was 25 kilometers away. Therefore, the practice of Korean aircraft must be characterized as a rogue act in the air. He said that Russia has submitted a note to the military officer of the Korean Embassy in Russia on the illegal and dangerous practices of Korean aircraft.