The United States on Monday restricted its commercial aircraft from flying over North Korea and adjacent waters, citing the risk that the communist nation could launch ballistic missiles without warning.
North Korea was one of six countries that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration designated as dangerous regions in the wake of the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 last week. The five other countries with dangerous regions are Ethiopia, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Ukraine.
"FAA prohibits U.S. flights from entering airspace over Pyongyang west of 132 degrees east longitude," it said, referring to a wide area including airspace over waters off the country's east coast.
"An advisory warns that North Korea is known for testing ballistic missiles without any warning. As recently as March, North Korea test-fired two missiles into the Sea of Japan," it said, adding a news report that the North has launched a total of 90 rockets or missiles so far this year.
Earlier this month, the U.S. also joined other nations in co-signing a letter to the president of the International Civil Aviation Organization about "serious threats" posed by the North's recent missile launches.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said last week that such launches without prior notification threaten the safety of international aviation and also demonstrate North Korea's disregard for the rules and regulations of the organization. (Yonhap)