On July 23, Russian and Chinese military conducted the first joint patrol by long-range aircraft in the Asia-Pacific region. South Korea accused Russia of violating the country's airspace over the Sea of Japan.
"During patrols, the aircraft of Russia and China strictly observed the relevant norms of international law and did not violate the airspace of other countries," the spokesman said during the presentation of China's white paper on national defense.
He stressed that the patrol was part of the annual plan of joint manoeuvres of the two countries and was not directed against third countries.
On Tuesday, the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff claimed that a Russian A-50 control aircraft had illegally crossed into South Korean airspace twice over the Sea of Japan, and that South Korean F-16 fighters fired warning shots in response.
According to media reports, the incident took place several hours after two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers and two Chinese aircraft entered the South Korean air defence identification zone.
The Russian Defence Ministry has already refuted Seoul's claims that the Tu-95MS had violated South Korean airspace, stressing that the South Korean fighters had performed non-professional manoeuvres and crossed course with the Russian planes, jeopardizing their security.
The ministry also said that it was not for the first time that the South Korean pilots unsuccessfully tried to prevent Russian aircraft from flying over the neutral waters of the Sea of Japan, referring to the South Korean air defence identification zone. Moscow noted that such "zones" were not provided for by international rules and were not recognized by Russia, which had repeatedly stated it to the South Korean side via various channels.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, commenting on the incident, that the South Korean air defence identification zone was not the airspace of this country, and everyone had the right to freedom of flight there.