Report: U.S. Navy deployed spy plane near North Korea

By Elizabeth Shim  |  Dec. 12, 2017 at 12:50 PM
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Dec. 12 (UPI) -- The United States deployed a reconnaissance plane that swept across waters near the eastern coast of North Korea, according to a South Korean news network on Tuesday.

Channel A reported the U.S. Navy dispatched the aircraft as signs indicated North Korea may be preparing for its next provocation.

The deployment is a warning, according to the report.

The EP-3 spy plane stationed in Japan flew in close proximity to North Korea because the military has been tracking signs of a pending SLBM launch from a North Korean submarine.

A Pentagon spokesman said the United States is "well postured" to deal with a North Korea launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, according to Yonhap on Tuesday.

"I can't comment on any matters of specific intelligence regarding North Korea, but I will tell you that within the deep arsenal that we have of capabilities, we're well postured to deal with that," Army Col. Robert Manning said.

North Korea has been touting its most recent test of a long-range missile, the Hwasong-15, on state television.

"A state-of-the-art core technology, once the exclusive property of major military powers, has been completed in our style," North Korea said in a televised statement.

Manning said the situation is being watched closely.

"We'll remain vigilant along with our partners from the Republic of Korea and Japan, our alliance partners there, to make sure that we can counter any North Korean threat," Manning said.

Pyongyang has completed a prototype of its latest SLBM, the Pukguksong-3, and could be making preparations as leaders of South Korea and China get ready to meet in Beijing, according to Channel A.

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