North Korea threatens to shoot down Japanese spy planes

Author: By Kwang-Tae Kim, Associated Press

The North has designated a no-sail zone off its eastern coast from June 25 to
July 10 for military drills, raising concerns that it might test-fire short-
or mid-range missiles in the coming days, in violation of a UN resolution.

North Korea’s air force said Japan’s E-767 surveillance aircraft conducted
aerial espionage near the Musudan-ri missile site on its northeast coast on
Wednesday and Thursday.

The country’s official Korean Central News Agency said the air force “will not
tolerate even a bit the aerial espionage by the warmongers of the Japanese
aggression forces but mercilessly shoot down any plane intruding into the
territorial air of the (North) even 0.001 mm.”

Officials of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force were not immediately available for
comment today.

The threat against alleged Japanese aerial espionage is rare, though the North
has regularly complained of US spy missions in its airspace.

Japan is very sensitive to North Korea’s missile programs, as its islands lie
within easy range. In 1998, a North Korean missile flew over Japan’s main
island. Tokyo has since spent billions of dollars on developing a missile
shield with the United States and has launched a series of spy satellites
primarily to watch developments in North Korea.

But in April, another rocket flew over Japan’s main island, drawing a strong
protest from Tokyo. Pyongyang claims it put a satellite into orbit, while
the US and its allies say it was really a test of the country’s long-range
missile technology.

The launch was one of a series of missile tests in recent months, and the
communist regime has further raised tensions by conducting a second
underground nuclear test. Its actions have drawn harsh international
condemnation and new UN sanctions.

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