Communist North Korea is rattling its military sabers again in a new round of threats against American forces. The reclusive nation warned Monday that it may begin shooting down U.S. Air Force aircraft that are “illegally” in its airspace.
North Korea’s Ministry of National Defense claimed that “provocative military actions by the United States were bringing the Korean peninsula closer to a nuclear conflict.”
The unidentified spokesperson said that it is not certain that “such a shocking accident as the downing of the U.S. Air Force strategic reconnaissance plane will not happen.”
The area the U.S. is accused of conducting flyovers is within 200 nautical miles of the North’s territory. The nation claims an exclusive economic zone where it controls natural resources.
Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, alleged American aircraft breached the eastern sea boundary between the North and South at about 5 a.m. Monday. She said the spy plane was pursued out of her nation’s airspace by North Korean warplanes.
— One America News (@OANN) July 10, 2023
Kim said the U.S. flew back over the eastern sea boundary some three hours later.
The boundaries are contradicted by South Korean officials. They related to Reuters that the U.S. did not encroach on North Korean airspace and that reconnaissance flights are often conducted in the region.
The Pentagon responded by asserting that the U.S. military follows international law. Spokesperson Sabrina Singh told the media that “those accusations are just accusations.”
U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller urged the North to step back from escalation of tensions in the region. He repeated the call from Washington “to engage in serious and sustained diplomacy” while emphasizing that the U.S. is open to dialogue without preconditions.
Kim’s official news agency KCNA claimed that the possible U.S. introduction of nuclear weapons to the peninsula is nothing more than “nuclear blackmail.” It called joint programs with Washington and Seoul “a grave threat to peace.”
Both have carried out air and navy drills in 2023, and a U.S. nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine arrived in the South Korean port city of Busan in June.
There are also plans for an American nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine to visit the South for the first time since the 1980s.