U.S. Deploys Surveillance Aircraft Over South Korea Following North Korea’s Underwater Drone Test

SEOUL: In response to North Korea's recent test of an underwater nuclear attack drone, the United States Air Force deployed a surveillance aircraft over South Korea on Monday. Aviation trackers revealed the presence of the RC-135W Rivet Joint aircraft in the airspace above Incheon, near Seoul, as well as over Gyeonggi and Gangwon Provinces and along both the eastern and western coasts of South Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the RC-135W's mission follows North Korea's declaration three days prior that it tested the Haeil-5-23, an underwater nuclear attack drone, in the East Sea. This test was seen as a response to the latest joint naval exercises involving South Korea, the U.S., and Japan last week.

Sources suggest that the deployment of the advanced U.S. spy plane, while part of regular intelligence-gathering operations, may also serve as a strategic message to North Korea. The showcasing of its extensive flight routes could be interpreted as a form of pressure on Pyongyang. Notably, this is the third such flight of 2023, following two earlier missions on January 4 and 17, which were confined to inland airspace.

In light of these developments, South Korea and the United States have intensified their surveillance and monitoring efforts. This increased vigilance is in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's call for heightened war readiness amid what he terms "unprecedented" confrontational acts led by the U.S.

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