Skip to main content
CNN EditionWorld
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!

U.S. to resume flights near North Korea

From Barbara Starr
CNN


Story Tools

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. Air Force said Wednesday it will resume reconnaissance flights off the coast of North Korea for the first time since a March 2 incident that was perceived as hostile.

Four North Korea MiG fighters intercepted an Air Force RC-135 aircraft 150 miles off the Korean peninsula over the Sea of Japan and apparently gestured for the pilot to land in North Korea, Pentagon officials said.

The Pentagon did not say when the flights would resume. Officials said there will be an AWACs early warning airplane nearby and some Navy Aegis-radar equipped ships in the Sea of Japan keeping watch for any new activity by North Korean fighters.

The flights will not be accompanied by armed fighter escorts. Defense Department officials recommended against escorts because the reconnaissance flights are conducted in international airspace and are characterized as routine and non-threatening. Officials said they did not want to further militarize the operation by sending fighter escorts.

The AWACS and Aegis radars should be able to detect any North Korean aircraft from a long distance and warn pilots of reconnaissance flights, they said.

On March 2 the Air Force crew had no warning the North Korean MiGs were nearby. At least one of the MiGs came within 50 feet of the U.S. plane and one of the MiGs' radars was turned on, raising the threat of the North Koreans using on-board heat seeking missiles.

The incident was videotaped by the U.S. crew. Pentagon officials who have seen the videotape tell CNN it shows the North Korean pilot gesturing with his thumb in a downward motion. That has been interpreted to mean the North Koreans were trying to make the U.S. crew follow them and land in North Korea.


Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.