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N. Korea protests 'spy' flights

North Korea says the U.S. has flown RC-135 spy planes into its airspace
North Korea says the U.S. has flown RC-135 spy planes into its airspace

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SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- North Korea has accused the United States of flying a spy plane into its airspace in preparation for a "preemptive attack."

According to KCNA, the North's official news agency which is monitored in Seoul, the flights took place on four straight days between February 21 and 24.

"The U.S. imperialist warhawks illegally intruded RC-135 strategic reconnaissance plane into the territorial air of the DPRK [North Korea] to spy on it," the agency said.

"This is a premeditated move to find an opportunity to mount a preemptive attack on the DPRK," it added.

According to the report, the alleged flights entered North Korean airspace over the East Sea between Musudan and Wonsan Bay.

There has been no comment on the report from U.S. officials.

Raising tensions

Pyongyang's accusation comes a day after North Korea fired a surface-to-surface naval missile into the Sea of Japan -- a move some analysts say was designed to upstage Tuesday's inauguration of South Korea's new president. (Full story)

The test was a the latest in a series of North Korean moves seen as upping tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Last week, a North Korean MiG-19 fighter briefly flew into South Korean airspace sparking a military alert and the scrambling of several South Korean jet fighters.

That came shortly after the North threatened to abandon the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War.

Noting the current tensions, the KCNA report on the alleged spy plane incursions issued a strongly-worded warning to Washington.

"The U.S. warhawks are well advised not to run amuck, well aware of the grave consequences to be entailed by their intrusion and espionage committed against the DPRK at a time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula has got extremely tense."

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