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US flies spy aircraft over Korean Peninsula: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file photo shows an RC-135W Rivet Joint of the US Air Force.

A United States aircraft has conducted a reconnaissance flight over the Korean Peninsula, an aviation tracker says, as North Korea ends a unilateral moratorium on the testing of missiles.

Aircraft Spots said in a report — carried by South Korea’s Yonhap news agency — on Thursday that an RC-135W Rivet Joint of the US Air Force had conducted a surveillance flight over the peninsula but did not specify when exactly.

The tracker said that the aircraft had been spotted carrying out operations over the peninsula during the past several days in a row, along with a number of other surveillance planes such as an EP-3E and RC-135S.

Last Wednesday, Aircraft Spots reported that four American reconnaissance aircraft of different types were believed to have simultaneously conducted missions over and around the Korean Peninsula between last Tuesday and Christmas Day.

North Korea has been under multiple rounds of harsh sanctions by the United Nations and the US over its nuclear and missile programs.

The US and North Korea had been involved in bilateral diplomacy over the demilitarization of the Korean Peninsula since 2018 until recently.

Despite the sanctions imposed on it, Pyongyang had taken some unilateral steps to show its goodwill, including suspending test-launches of missiles.

But diplomacy snagged as Washington refused to reciprocate the unilateral steps. And Pyongyang set the end of 2019 as the deadline for the US to act.

As that deadline came and went, and the US failed to offer any sanctions relief, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday declared an end to the moratorium on its missile tests.

Kim also said that North Korea would soon develop “a new strategic weapon.”

The declaration came after months of repeated calls by North Korea on the US to take reciprocal steps were ignored.

The North has not conducted nuclear and ICBM tests since November 2017, when Kim announced a halt to all of its nuclear and ICBM tests.

The US stepped up its spying activities near the North as the end-of-year deadline approached, according to reports.

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