North Korea claimed Friday that U.S. spy planes had surveyed strategic targets and military installations in the communist nation on more than 180 aerial espionage missions last month.
An overseas-based E-3 AWACS airborne command plane also was in the area to direct more than 2,000 fighters involved in a week of U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises, the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported, citing a military source.
The exercises which ended Friday and included 25,000 American forces and an unspecified number of South Korean troops have drawn repeated condemnations from the North, which claims they are a rehearsal for invasion. U.S. and South Korean officials say they are simply to bolster the militaries' defense capabilities.
North Korea releases tallies of alleged U.S. spy flights every month. The U.S. military doesn't comment, although it acknowledges monitoring North Korean military activity, reports the AP.
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