MOSCOW (Sputnik) — South Korea and the United States have increased surveillance of North Korea amid expectations that Pyongyang might test-fire a ballistic missile, local media reported Sunday citing a military source.
"Some movements have been continuously detected from the North's missile facilities and bases. We are maintaining the heightened reconnaissance and preparedness posture," the source was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.
The official reportedly specified that enhanced surveillance operations involved the use of U-2S ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft, RC-800 and RF-16 reconnaissance planes, the E-737 airborne early warning and control aircraft and P-3C maritime patrol aircraft.
The news comes amid Russian lawmaker Anton Morozov's warning on Friday that Pyongyang was preparing to test-fire a ballistic missile that could hit the western coast of the United States. The lawmaker was among three Russian parliamentarians who traveled to Pyongyang on October 2-6 to discuss the peaceful settlement of the current crisis on the Korean peninsula.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula has become aggravated due to Pyongyang's missile launches and nuclear tests, conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. In the most recent case on September 15, North Korea launched a ballistic missile, which flew over Japan before falling into the northern Pacific some 20 minutes after the launch.
In addition to worsening situation on the peninsula, Pyongyang has been trading threats with the United States. On September 26, US President Donald Trump said Washington was fully prepared to take a "military option" against North Korea that would be "devastating." In response, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened the United States with a harsh response.