North Korea Threatens to Shoot Down U.S. Reconnaissance Aircraft

According to South Korean media, Yonhap, the North Korean Ministry of Defense warned that it would shoot down U.S. reconnaissance aircraft. The statement reads below:

“The United States is conducting hostile reconnaissance activities on the Korean Peninsula and its surroundings at an unprecedented level by intensively mobilizing various aerial reconnaissance means deployed in the Asia-Pacific operational area… This month alone, for eight days from the 2nd to the 9th, US Air Force strategic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135 and U-2S and unmanned reconnaissance aircraft RQ-4B alternately flew over the East Sea and West Sea of Korea, It carried out provocative aerial reconnaissance of the region.”

The statement continued: “In particular, in the East Sea of Korea, there have been incidents in which US Air Force strategic reconnaissance aircraft have invaded the airspace where the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is exercised by several tens of kilometers. There is no guarantee that a shocking incident in which a US Air Force strategic reconnaissance plane is shot down over the East Sea of Joseon will not happen anywhere.”

The statement then went on to denounce the possible deployment of U.S. ballistic missile submarines to the waters surrounding the Korean Peninsula: “It is a very dangerous situation that forces us to realistically accept even the worst phase of the nuclear crisis. In the event of an incident, the United States will be fully responsible for it.”

The full statement can be read here.

On June 15th, 2023 the United States deployed a nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying about 150 Tomahawk missiles to South Korea, one day after North Korea resumed missile tests in protest of U.S.-South Korean live-fire drills.

The acknowledgment of U.S. Special Recconaisnce Missions over the country is novel and significant from the Hermit Kingdom which rarely publicly comments on such operations.

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Ethan Alun
Ethan Alun
A United States Naval Academy and American Military University Alumni, Ethan covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.
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