North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, has accused a US military spy plane of repeatedly entering North Korea’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to state media KCNA. The accusation comes amid escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States, as well as its ally South Korea. Kim Yo Jong warned that US forces would face a “very critical flight” if they continue what North Korea deems as “illegal intrusion.”
Alleged US Air Force Intrusions
According to Kim Yo Jong, the US spy plane breached North Korea’s EEZ eight times. The alleged intrusions occurred off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, approximately 435 km (270 miles) east of Tongchon in Gangwon Province and 276 km southeast of Uljin in North Gyeongsang Province.
Dispute Over Airspace Violations
North Korea’s accusations of airspace violations have been dismissed by the Pentagon, which stated that the US military has adhered to international law. Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh called the accusations mere allegations, emphasizing that the US forces have not violated North Korean airspace.
Exclusive Economic Zone Explained
An Exclusive Economic Zone refers to an area extending 200 nautical miles from a country’s coastal territory. While it grants the country rights to exploit marine resources within the zone, it does not confer sovereignty over the airspace above it or the water’s surface.
Calls for Diplomacy and Non-Escalation
In response to the accusations, the US State Department urged North Korea to refrain from escalatory actions and reiterated its call for serious and sustained diplomacy. The State Department spokesperson emphasized the need for North Korea to engage in dialogue. Meanwhile, North Korea insisted that the issue is solely between the Korean People’s Army and the US forces, cautioning South Korea against involvement.
South Korea’s Position
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a statement expressing concern over North Korea’s escalating tensions and its threats related to what it called “normal flight activity” by the South Korea-US alliance. South Korea emphasized the importance of maintaining stability and dialogue in the region.
Escalating Tensions and Diplomatic Implications
The accusations and threats from North Korea regarding airspace violations further exacerbate the already tense situation on the Korean peninsula. It highlights the urgent need for diplomatic efforts to ease tensions and promote dialogue among the concerned parties. The international community will closely monitor developments and continue to encourage peaceful resolution to avoid any potential escalation of the situation.