Name? Yoon Suk Yeol
Westphalian identity? South Korean
Why is he in the news? President Yoon’s South Korea scrambled fighter jets in response to Chinese and Russian warplanes nearing the country’s airspace. According to Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the Chinese H-6 bombers repeatedly entered the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (Kadiz) early this morning.
Why do we care? Unlike a nation’s airspace, the Kadiz, and other air defence zones, are not governed by international rules. There are simply no international laws that govern the authority over these zones; their use and entry requirements are customary in times of peace and traditionally recognised by other states. The Kadiz is an area where South Korea requires foreign aircraft take special steps to identify themselves—steps that neither China nor Russia took as they do not recognize Korea’s air defence zone.
Why should you care? Given that this is not the first time, nor will it be the last time that Chinese and Russian warplanes have entered the Kadiz, you only need to care 2/10. That said, when Russian military craft entered the Kadiz in 2019 when conducting a joint air patrol with China, South Korean warplanes fired hundreds of warning shots…
Who else cares? Prime Minister Kishida of Japan cares as he also had to scramble his country’s Air Self-Defence Force in response to Chinese and Russian warplanes flying through the Tsushima Strait. Both Kishida and Yoon participated in this year’s NATO summit for the first time, where they reiterated their position as NATO partners ahead of the increasing number of military exercises carried out by China in the Asia-Pacific region.
Any further comments? China and Russia also carried out joint flights over Japan earlier this year when Quad leaders met in Tokyo and President Biden was in South Korea. In response to not only China and Russia, but North Korea, the US and Japan held their own huge military drills last week.