Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has made a bold claim, asserting that Pyongyang successfully repelled a US spy plane that had entered nearby waters on Monday. In a warning laden with gravity, Kim Yo-jong cautioned the United States about the potential “shocking” consequences if it continued its reconnaissance operations in the region. The United States and South Korea, however, promptly dismissed the North’s accusations, emphasizing the need to avoid actions or rhetoric that could further escalate tensions.
This latest development follows a period of heightened animosity sparked by North Korea’s relentless barrage of missile tests earlier this year. While North Korea has previously issued similar threats regarding alleged US reconnaissance activities, the recent statement by Kim Yo-jong carries added weight due to her high-ranking position in the North Korean regime’s foreign policy apparatus.
According to Kim Yo-jong’s statement, the US spy plane breached North Korea’s eastern exclusive economic zone eight times on Monday. North Korea swiftly responded by dispatching its own warplanes to chase away the intruder. Kim Yo-jong warned of a potential “shocking incident” in the 20-40 kilometer airspace section where US spy planes habitually intrude into North Korea’s economic water zone.
However, the US Department of Defense and the State Department wasted no time in refuting North Korea’s claims. Sabrina Singh, the deputy Pentagon press secretary, dismissed the allegations, categorizing them as baseless. Singh reiterated the United States’ commitment to adhering to international law and conducting operations alongside allies and partners. Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the US State Department, urged North Korea to refrain from any escalatory actions and instead engage in meaningful diplomatic dialogue.
South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff echoed the US position, denying any violation of North Korean territory by US spy planes. Lee Sung-joon, spokesperson for the joint chiefs of staff, stated that the United States was conducting standard reconnaissance activities in coordination with South Korea’s military.
Nevertheless, Kim Yo-jong issued another statement on Tuesday, expressing concern that the intensified US reconnaissance activities were encroaching on North Korea’s sovereignty. She warned that US forces would face a “very critical flight” if such actions persisted, raising fears of potential further escalations in the already tense region.