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US flies three spy planes over S. Korea after NK coastal gun firing

Three US reconnaissance aircraft flew over the Korean Peninsula in succession for two days this week in an apparent sign of ramped-up surveillance of North Korea following its test-firing of coastal artillery.

A plane believed to be an EP-3E of the US Navy, was spotted in skies above the Korean Peninsula at an altitude of 7,010 meters, Aircraft Spots, an aviation tracker, said on its Twitter account. 

(US Air Force)
(US Air Force)

The aviation tracker said earlier it detected two US Air Force spy planes -- the RC-135V and the E-8C -- flying over the region Wednesday and early Thursday, respectively. The RC-135V flew at an altitude of 9,753 meters, and the E-8C was at 9,448 meters.

The flights came after North Korea carried out firing drills involving coastal guns on its border islet of Changrin in the Yellow Sea at the instruction of its leader Kim Jong-un. Seoul has lodged a protest through the inter-Korean communication line, calling the drills a violation of the military pact the two Koreas signed last year.

Concerns have lingered that the North could conduct additional missile tests amid stalled denuclearization talks with the United States. The communist state has conducted 12 rounds of major weapons tests so far this year, including new types of short-range ballistic missiles and a submarine-launched ballistic missile.

Stepping up its surveillance of North Korea, the US has flown the reconnaissance planes that conduct signals intelligence over Seoul and its surrounding areas more often recently than before. (Yonhap)