U.S. steps up reconnaissance of North Korea after alerts pointing to action on Oct. 9 or 10

by WorldTribune Staff, October 8, 2017

The United States has increased U-2 reconnaissance operations over the Korean peninsula after ominous warnings from North Korea watchers in several nations and a first-hand report from Pyongyang.

U.S. U2 spy plane

Anton Morozov, a member of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, revealed North Korea’s plans after he returned from a five-day visit to Pyongyang, where he said the mood is “rather belligerent.”

Morozov said Kim Jong-Un regime officials gave Moscow mathematical calculations showing that the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) to be tested could reach targets on the U.S. west coast.

North Korea is likely to carry out its plan Oct. 9 (Columbus Day holiday in the U.S.), or Oct. 10 (the anniversary of the founding of the North Korean communist party), a top CIA official said last week.

“We are concerned…that risk exists at any time on the Korean Peninsula,” said Yong Suk Lee, deputy assistant director of the CIA’s Korea Mission Center, while speaking at a conference at the George Washington University in Washington. D.C.

“I told my own staff, Oct. 10 is the Korean Workers Party founding day,” Lee said. “That’s Tuesday in North Korea, but that’s Monday – Columbus Day holiday in the U.S. – so stand by your phones. North Korea is a political organism that thrives on confrontation.”

North Korea often carries out nuclear tests or missile launches on important national holidays. Its first ever nuclear test was on Oct. 9, 2006. A decade later, on Sept. 9, 2016, North Korea conducted a nuclear test to mark its founding.

U.S. Forces Korea confirmed it has enhanced the operations of the U-2S ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft and South Korea also increased surveillance with the RC-800 and RF-16 reconnaissance planes, the E-737 airborne early warning and control aircraft and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft.

Maritime and land-based advanced radar systems are running to detect ballistic missiles from North Korea.

Morozov told the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti that North Korea is “going to carry out, as far as we understand, yet another launch of a missile, but this time with a longer range.”

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