South Korea complains over Chinese military jet in airspace

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A Chinese SU-30 jet (Reuters file)

SEOUL — South Korea summoned the Chinese ambassador on Tuesday to lodge a complaint over a Chinese military aircraft entering the South’s air defense territory, the second such incident this year, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The Chinese aircraft flew for more than four hours inside South Korea’s air defense identification zone or KADIZ on Tuesday, prompting the South to scramble multiple fighter jets to track it, a South Korean defense official told Reuters.

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, the ministry said in a statement.

Three other Chinese officials based in South Korea had been summoned to the defense ministry earlier in the day for the incident, which occurred near South Korea’s island of Ulleungdo off its east coast.

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 defense official, adding Chinese officials told South Korea’s military the aircraft’s movements had been part of regular military exercises.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Chinese military aircraft entered the KADIZ on January 29 while two similar instances were observed in 2017.