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U.S. flies spy plane over Korean Peninsula to monitor N. Korea

North Korea 16:43 April 20, 2020

SEOUL, April 20 (Yonhap) -- A U.S. surveillance aircraft flew over South Korea, an aviation tracker said Monday, on an apparent mission to monitor North Korea amid stepped-up military moves by the communist regime in recent weeks.

The U.S. Air Force's RC-135W Rivet Joint was spotted in skies above the city of Incheon, just west of Seoul, and the adjacent Gyeonggi Province, Aircraft Spots tweeted without specifying the exact time of the operation.

The U.S. has deployed several types of spy planes here more often than before in recent months, such as the Navy's EP-3E, after Pyongyang has moved to beef up its defense capabilities amid stalled denuclearization talks with Washington.

As the latest in a series of muscle-flexing maneuvers, North Korea fired what appeared to be cruise missiles off its east coast and air-to-ground missiles from fighter jets into the East Sea last Tuesday, one day before the birthday anniversary of late national founder Kim Il-sung.

The deployment of such reconnaissance aircraft by the U.S. is part of its regular operations, but it might have let some of them be spotted "intentionally" to send a message of pressure to the North, according to sources and experts.

An increase in surveillance activity could also suggest unusual moves may be under way in the communist nation, such as preparations for missile launches.

This image, captured from the website of the U.S. Air Force, shows a RC-135W Rivet Joint reconnaissance plane. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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