Amid North Korean missile fears, US flies surveillance aircraft over Korean Peninsula

Recently a US Navy EP-3E plane also conducted similar surveillance operations

The US Air Force flew its surveillance aircraft RC-135W Rivet Joint over the Korean peninsula, a report has said. The surveillance aircraft was flown at a height of 31,000 feet over the Korean Peninsula, an aviation tracker said on Monday.

The latest in a series of flights to monitor North Korea amid growing concerns Pyongyang could launch long-range missiles, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing Aircraft Spot. The agency did not specify the exact time of the operation.

A U.S. Air Force B-52 carries the X-51 Hypersonic Vehicle out to the range for a launch test
Representational picture Reuters

Pyongyang building multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile?

Reports said last week that North Korea is all set to spite the United States by building a multi-warhead intercontinental ballistic missile if talks with Washington fails, defence experts have said. President Donald Trump unleashed a charm offensive on reclusive leader Kim Jong-Un last year but denuclearization talks hit a bumpy road since then. Should the talks fail, Pyongyang would want to display its power to strike at the US with greater force and precision, experts said.

The same type of surveillance aircraft made a flight over the peninsula over the weekend, the aviation tracker tweeted on Sunday, noting that it was "actually odd timing" as it does not carry out operations "usually on weekends". Recently a US Navy EP-3E plane also conducted similar surveillance operations.

Series of flights

The series of flights took place when North Korea has threatened to take a "new way" other than dialogue, if the US fails to meet its year-end deadline to make concessions in their stalled denuclearization negotiations, said Yonhap News Agency.

Warning that the deadline was drawing near, the North has said that it was entirely up to the US to decide what "Christmas gift" it would get, deepening concern that the regime could conduct an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch.

Earlier this month, the North conducted what appeared to be two rocket engine tests at its western satellite launch site in what could be a prelude to the launch of a long-range satellite-carrying rocket or an ICBM. As the North has taken a series of military moves, such as successive firings of short-range ballistic missiles and a submarine-launched ballistic missile, the US has deployed several types of surveillance planes over the peninsula more often than before.

(With inputs from IANS)