Kim Yo-jong, a prominent figure in North Korean politics and sister of leader Kim Jong-un, has alleged that Pyongyang successfully repelled a US spy plane that ventured into nearby waters on Monday, issuing a stern warning of “shocking” consequences should the US continue its reconnaissance activities in the region. However, both the United States and South Korea swiftly dismissed the North’s accusations, urging restraint to avoid escalating tensions further.
This latest claim comes amidst a period of heightened animosity following North Korea’s extensive missile tests earlier this year. While North Korea has previously made similar threats regarding alleged US reconnaissance activities, Kim Yo-jong’s statement carries particular significance due to her influential role in the regime’s foreign policy affairs.
According to Kim Yo-jong, the US spy plane violated North Korea’s eastern exclusive economic zone on eight occasions on Monday. She further asserted that North Korea promptly scrambled its warplanes to chase away the intruder. Kim Yo-jong warned of a potential “shocking incident” in the airspace section of 20-40 kilometers, which has become a habitual intrusion point for US spy planes in North Korea’s economic water zone.
However, the US Defense Department and State Department spokespeople refuted North Korea’s claims, labeling them as baseless allegations. Sabrina Singh, the deputy Pentagon press secretary, emphasized the United States’ commitment to operating within the boundaries of international law, alongside its allies and partners. Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department, urged North Korea to refrain from escalating actions and instead pursue serious diplomatic dialogue.
Similarly, South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff denied North Korea’s assertions, stating that no US spy plane had violated North Korean territory. Lee Sung-joon, spokesperson for the joint chiefs of staff, clarified that the US was engaged in standard reconnaissance activities in coordination with South Korea’s military.
Despite the dismissals, Kim Yo-jong issued another statement on Tuesday, expressing concern that the increasing US reconnaissance activities were encroaching upon North Korea’s sovereignty. She warned that US forces would face a “very critical flight” if they persist, raising apprehensions about potential further escalations in an already tense region.