A US spy plane was spotted over the South Korean capital of Seoul after North Korea tested what it said was a new tactical guided weapon with a “powerful warhead”, The Chosun Ilbo reported.
The RC-135W Rivet Joint reportedly covered an area from Gyeonggi to Gangwon provinces, south of the no-fly zone established to prevent any form of cross-border hostilities under a September 2018 agreement. The United States has yet to comment on the reports.
According to the military, the last time the US reconnaissance plane was scrambled over Seoul was after Pyongyang carried out a series of missile tests back in 2017.
On Thursday, the KCNA reported that Pyongyang had tested a “new-type tactical guided weapon”, pointing out that it has a “peculiar mode of guiding flight”.
According to the DPRK’s state media, the brief test, which was “conducted in various modes of firing at different targets”, was overseen by Kim Jong-un himself.
The reported development marked the first publicised weapons test since the Hanoi talks between Kim and US President Donald Trump failed in late February.
At the time, Trump told reporters that North Korea wanted “the sanctions lifted in their entirety”, and “we couldn’t do that”.
The first Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore last June was dubbed fruitful by both sides, and ended with a historic declaration that paved the way for talks on denuclearisation and normalisation of bilateral relations, among other goals.
After multiple tests, Kim pledged last April that Pyongyang would refrain from nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles in what was considered by his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, an important step toward the peninsula’s complete denuclearisation.