F-16s take off from Osan Military Airbase in Pyeongtaek. Photo: AFP/Seung-il Ryu

Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force reportedly scrambled fighters on January 29 to intercept a Chinese military aircraft that flew through the Tsushima Strait between Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.

The Asahi Shimbun says the Chinese Y-9 surveillance aircraft approached from the west side of Tsushima island and entered the Japanese Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). It then crossed to the Sea of Japan off Shimane Prefecture and returned through the strait before heading toward the East China Sea, according to information provided by Japan’s Defense Ministry.

South Korea also said it scrambled fighters on Monday after a Chinese military plane entered its ADIZ.

The Chinese military aircraft is said to have entered South Korea’s ADIZ over Socotra Rock, which is south of Jeju Island off the southern tip of the Korean Peninsula, according to a South Korean military official.

The plane then entered Japan’s ADIZ before flying back toward China, the official said. Yonhap, quoting a source, said the Chinese plane appears to be a Y-8 multi-role transport or maritime patrol jet. It isn’t clear if this was the same Chinese plane that drew a response from Japan.

Asahi says that Chinese military aircraft entered Japan’s and South Korea’s ADIZs in an incident on December 18, while Yonhap is reporting that five Chinese military planes entered South Korea’s ADIZ in mid-December.

An ADIZ is airspace over land or water designated by a country that calls for the early identification and location of a foreign plane that approaches its territory. It’s not defined in any international law or treaty.

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