New Zealand to deploy P-8A aircraft in Japan to monitor N. Korean marine ops


The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) will deploy a Boeing Poseidon P-8A aircraft in Japan to support the surveillance of North Korean maritime activities that are prohibited by the United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs).

The news was announced by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which stated that the P-8A Poseidon aircraft will be stationed at the Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, from mid-April to early May 2024 to monitor “illicit maritime activities, including ship-to-ship transfers” by North Korean-flagged vessels.

It will be the first overseas deployment of the RNZAF P-8A for a monitoring and surveillance mission, replacing the retired P-3K2 Orion.

“This is the first time one of our Poseidons has been deployed operationally overseas, the first time we have operated in Asia, which will be the furthest deployment away from New Zealand, and the first time we have used this aircraft in support of New Zealand’s contribution to uphold UN Security Council sanctions enforcement,” Air Component Commander, Air Commodore Andy Scott said in a statement.

According to the New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF), this will be the sixth time since 2018 that it has deployed a maritime patrol aircraft and specialist personnel to detect and deter evasions of United Nations Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea.

“North Korea continues to launch ballistic missiles in violation of Security Council resolutions. The sanctions are intended to persuade the country to denuclearize and abandon its ballistic missile weapons capabilities,” NZDF said. 

New Zealand’s latest mission to monitor North Korean sanctions-evasion activities was in 2021, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) then issued a statement, describing New Zealand’s actions as “exerting bad influence on the military and political situation around the Korean peninsula.”

“The New Zealand authorities should wake up to the reality, lend an ear to the public voices and put an end to the foolish act of inviting its own disaster by following its master blindly,” the statement continued. 

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