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North Korea claims US flew 170 spy flights in April

Seoul, April. 30, 2005 (AP): North Korea accused the United States today of conducting more than 170 spy flights against the Communist country and said they show that Washington is preparing an attack.

Such aerial espionage "shows the US imperialists are trying to realize their ambition to invade through a surprise attack," the North's official Korean Central News Agency reported.

North Korea regularly makes such accusations. The US military does not comment on North Korean claims on spy flights, although it acknowledges monitoring North Korean military activity. Washington has repeatedly said it has no intention to invade the North.

The report said the US military used planes such as the U-2, RC-135, E-3 and EP-3 for aerial espionage against the Communist state.

The United States keeps about 32,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a ceasefire, leaving the two Koreas technically still at war.

The United States is locked in a confrontation with North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme. Six-nation talks aimed at halting the North's nuclear ambitions have been stalled since last June.

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