SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- Two Chinese and six Russian warplanes entered South Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ) without notice Wednesday, prompting the Air Force to scramble fighters to the scene, Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.
The planes' entry into the KADIZ came as South Korea is pushing to strengthen its alliance with the United States amid an intensifying Sino-U.S. rivalry, while maintaining its opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The JCS said the warplanes flew across the KADIZ but did not violate South Korea's territorial air.
At 5:48 a.m., two Chinese H-6 bombers flew into the KADIZ from an area 126 kilometers northwest of Ieo Islet, a submerged rock south of the southern island of Jeju, and they left the KADIZ at 6:13 a.m.
At 6:44 a.m., the bombers reentered the KADIZ from an area northeast of South Korea's southern port city of Pohang and exited the zone at 7:07 a.m.
Then six Russian aircraft -- four TU-95 bombers and two SU-35 fighters -- as well as two Chinese H-6 bombers flew into the KADIZ from an area 200 km northeast of the South's Ulleung Island at 12:18 p.m. and exited the zone at 12:36 p.m.
The two countries appeared to have engaged in a combined air exercise, observers said.
South Korean military aircraft, including F-15K jets, were deployed in a tactical step against a potential accidental situation, according to the JCS.
The air defense zone is not territorial airspace but is delineated to call on foreign planes to identify themselves so as to prevent accidental clashes.