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North Korea threatens to Shoot Down US Spy Planes

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North Korea accused the United States of spying on the site of an impending rocket launch and threatened Wednesday to shoot down any U.S. planes that intrude into its airspace.

North Korea says it will send a communications satellite into orbit on a multistage rocket between April 4 and 8. The U.S., South Korea and Japan think the reclusive country is using the launch to test long-range missile technology, and they warn Pyongyang would face sanctions under a U.N. Security Council resolution banning the country from ballistic activity.

Pyongyang’s state radio accused U.S. RC-135 surveillance aircraft of spying on the launch site on its northeast coast, according to South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which is in charge of monitoring the North.

“If the brigandish U.S. imperialists dare to infiltrate spy planes into our airspace to interfere with our peaceful satellite launch preparations, our revolutionary armed forces will mercilessly shoot them down,” the ministry quoted the radio as saying.