11:54 GMT +318 December 2017
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    An RC-135 Rivet Joint reconnaissance aircraft

    UK Snoops? British Spy Plane May Be En Route to Scan Korean Peninsula

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    A UK Royal Air Force RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft may be on its way to the Korean Peninsula as tensions mount between North Korea and the allied forces of the US, Japan and South Korea, the UK Defence Journal reported Friday.

    "The RAF has been asked to join an international spy operation over the rogue state to pinpoint nuclear sites and artillery batteries," the Mirror said in a Friday article, citing intelligence sources. "Western war planners are keen to minimize the death toll and that means a massive stepping-up of intelligence gathering against North Korea," an anonymous UK official told the outlet.

    "Although a conflict between North Korea and America and their allies is unthinkable, everything that can be done is being done to prepare if it happens," the source added. 

    The reports have been disputed by some. Sky News Defense Correspondent Alistair Bunkall, for example, tweeted on Friday, "I'm reliably told this isn't happening."

    The UK Ministry of Defense told Sputnik that Washington had "absolutely not" not requested the UK's assistance in identifying nuclear sites.

    However, UK intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft were deployed to the northern Iraq last year for intelligence gathering purposes, so their assistance to the US wouldn’t be unprecedented. "I can confirm we have deployed Rivet Joint, our very latest surveillance aircraft, the successor to Nimrod, to give us a much better picture, more intelligence and analysis of what is happening on the ground, which will help the Iraqi government, the Kurdish force and the Americans," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said last year.

    On Friday US President Donald Trump said via Twitter "military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely."

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    Donald Trump, Korean Peninsula, United Kingdom
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