The North Korean military sent fighter jets to intercept US reconnaissance aircraft, which it accused of “infringing the exclusive economic zone” in the waters east of the peninsula.

“The US reconnaissance aircraft on August 17 flew from an area 520 km away from Wonsan to a position 430 km east of Tachon, three times entering the exclusive economic zone of North Korea with the longest distance up to 14 km.” a spokesman for the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said on August 18.

North Korea accused the US spy plane of “infringing” on its exclusive economic zone and “snooping on the eastern and central regions,” calling it a “dangerous military provocation”.

The North Korean Air Force – Air Defense Division in charge of the eastern region dispatched fighters to the area where US aircraft reconnaissance was operating. After the US aircraft left, the North Korean fighter continued to operate in the area for about two hours to “prevent the re-entry of US reconnaissance aircraft.”

North Korea also sent a warship carrying anti-aircraft missiles to an area 450 km east of Wonsan to prevent “unlawful infiltration of US reconnaissance aircraft”. North Korea’s military warned it was “ready to take any action to defend its sovereignty.”

The incident happened before America, South Korea and Japan held a tripartite conference on August 18 at Camp David. US President Joe Biden will announce new security cooperation with Japan and South Korea, including trilateral military exercises.

South Korean intelligence said North Korea may have responded by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to coincide with the summit at Camp David. According to South Korean lawmaker Yoo Sang-bum, the North Korean military may hold synergistic drills and test-fire a missile that can carry a tactical nuclear warhead.

The recent military activities of the parties have caused tensions on the Korean peninsula to escalate. The United States has deployed many strategic weapons and vehicles to South Korea and held many joint exercises with South Korea and Japan to demonstrate military capabilities to North Korea.

North Korea criticized the US and South Korean military exercises for pushing the regional situation “to irreversible catastrophe and the brink of nuclear war.” These activities go beyond North Korea’s tolerance limits, and it will respond by demonstrating its deterrence capability “through offensive operations.”