U.S. again flies spy plane over S. Korean capital area

SEOUL-- A U.S. reconnaissance plane flew over Seoul and surrounding regions Friday, following a similar flight a day earlier, an aviation tracker said, on an apparent mission to collect intelligence regarding North Korea.

The plane, believed to be an RC-135W Rivet Joint, was detected in the skies above Seoul and the western port city of Incheon, Aircraft Spots posted on Twitter.

On Monday, the U.S.' RC-135V made a similar flight over the South Korean capital and Gyeonggi Province.

The operation came amid concern the North could carry out additional missile or rocket launches despite the conclusion of a combined military exercise between Seoul and Washington that Pyongyang cited as a reason for such firings.

This month alone, the communist country conducted weapons tests five times, with the latest one taking place Saturday. That runs counter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's pledge to U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this month to end such launches after the exercise was over. The drill concluded last week.

Stepping up its surveillance of North Korea, the U.S. has flown the reconnaissance plane over Seoul and its surrounding areas recently more often than before.

The aircraft used to occasionally fly over areas near Seoul around the time the North fired a string of ballistic missiles in 2017. But last year when the current peace process involving North Korea began, it was usually flown over the Yellow Sea.

The South Korean military has said it is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches and maintaining a readiness posture.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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