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05:55 AM, October 9, 2019
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S.Korea to Set Up Military Hotline with Russia to Prevent Airspace Violations
Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter (Picture for representation only)

South Korea is planning to sign an agreement to establish a direct military hotline with Russia to share military flight information and prevent any accidental airspace violation, by the end of this month.

“A military hotline between the Air Forces of South Korea and Russia will help prevent any accidental entry into each other's air defense identification zones," Yonhap reported quoting Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) as saying on Tuesday.

The two countries are scheduled to hold a joint defense committee meeting later this month 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, JCS stated, according to South Korean media.

In July, Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers allegedly violated the airspace near Dokdo islands claimed by South Korea and Japan. Following this, two of Seoul’s warplanes were scrambled to fire warning shots and intercept the bombers. The South Korean defense ministry stated that Chinese fighters had also entered the Korea's air defense identification zone (KADIZ).

Responding in contrast to South Korea’s claims, the Russian defense ministry said that its bombers were flying in the Sea of Japan in compliance with all international rules.

So far this year, Russian airplanes have entered KADIZ 13 times, according to government data.

South Korea also has been in talks with China to set up more hotlines between their air forces, according to the JCS. Chinese jets have entered KADIZ 25 times without prior notice, government data showed.

Currently, the two sides have one such channel between Seoul's master control and reporting center and China's northern theater command.

Seoul-based military experts reportedly told TASS that Russia does not recognize the so-called “air defense identification zone unilaterally established by South Korea.” “This is because the setting up of the zone contradicts international law, and Moscow has never set up a similar zone near its borders,” the experts said.

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