North Korea threatened to shoot down U.S. spy planes Monday after it accused U.S. forces of entering North Korean airspace during aerial drills.
"There is no guarantee that such [a] shocking accident as [a] downing of the U.S. Air Force strategic reconnaissance plane will not happen in the East Sea of Korea," a statement by a North Korean defense ministry spokesman published by the Korean Central News Agency read.
North Korea claimed several U.S. reconnaissance planes and drones flew around the Korean peninsula for "eight straight days" to "conduct provocative aerial espionage."
"In particular, a strategic reconnaissance plane of the U.S. Air Force illegally intruded into the inviolable airspace of the DPRK over its East Sea tens of kilometers several times," the statement read. South Korea’s military told Reuters the airspace violation claims were untrue and that the United States routinely conducts reconnaissance flights.
The threat comes amid increased tensions in the region as North Korea continues to develop its nuclear arsenal. The country’s military unveiled nuclear warheads in March that experts say could reach the United States. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister earlier that month warned interference with nuclear weapons testing would be considered a "declaration of war." An April watchdog report found the North Korean nuclear arsenal has nearly doubled since 2017. The United States has repeatedly failed to upgrade its missile defense systems, a May report by the Government Accountability Office found.
North Korea also said the presence of a U.S. nuclear submarine near the peninsula was "the most undisguised nuclear blackmail" and "proves that the situation of the Korean peninsula is coming closer to the threshold of nuclear conflict due to the U.S. provocative military action."
The United States deployed a nuclear-powered submarine that can carry 150 Tomahawk missiles to South Korean waters last month, according to the Associated Press.
Published under: North Korea