The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un accused the country’s warplanes of repelling a US spy plane that flew over the country’s exclusive economic zone.
ViaKIM TONG-HYUNG Associated Press
Seoul, South Korea — The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday alleged that the country’s warplanes repelled a US spy plane that flew over the country’s exclusive economic zone and warned about the “shocking” consequences if the US continues its spying activities in the region.
The US and South Korean militaries did not immediately respond to comments made by Kim Yo Jong, one of her brother’s top foreign policy officials, posted in state media late last night. Monday.
Earlier on Monday, North Korea’s Defense Ministry issued a statement accusing the United States of sending spy planes into its “inviolable airspace” and warning that approaching planes could be shot down.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff responded by denying that the United States had sent spy planes into North Korean territory. Spokesman Lee Sung Joon said at a press conference that the United States was conducting standard reconnaissance operations in coordination with the South Korean military.
Apparently in response to that comment, Kim accused the Joint Chiefs of Staff of acting as a “speaker” for the US military and said the US had stepped up its spying activities. in a serious violation of North Korea’s sovereignty and safety.
But while the North Korean Defense Ministry’s statement appeared to hint at a violation of the country’s territorial airspace, Kim accused the US of sending spy planes over North Korea’s exclusive economic zone, the zone within 200 nautical miles of its territory, where it controls rights to natural resources. .
Kim said a US spy plane crossed the eastern sea boundary between the two Koreas at around 5 a.m. Monday and conducted reconnaissance operations over North Korea’s exclusive economic zone before taking off. chased away by North Korean warplanes. She said the US plane again crossed the eastern sea boundary around 8:50 a.m., prompting the North Korean military to issue a “strong warning” to the US.
She said North Korea would take decisive action if the United States continued to fly spy planes over its exclusive economic zone, but added that it would “take no direct response” to the North Koreans. American spying activities outside the region.
“A shocking incident will happen for a long time in the 20-40 km section where US spy planes regularly violate the sky above the economic waters,” she said.
Kim’s comments come at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula as the pace of North Korea’s weapons testing and joint US-South Korean military exercises have intensified. North Korea has test-fired nearly 100 missiles since the beginning of 2022 as Kim Jong Un expands his nuclear arsenal he seems to see as his surest guarantee of survival.