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Seoul finds smoking gun for N. Korea responsibility for drones
Publication Date : 08-05-2014
Seoul’s Defence Ministry said Thursday that its probe team had secured the “smoking gun” confirming that the three crashed drones, discovered in frontline areas earlier this year, came from North Korea.
Announcing the result of its probe, the investigation team, consisting of South Korean and US experts, presented its analysis of photos and data from the drones’ cameras and memory chips, which revealed that they took off from the North and were programmed to return to the North.
“Analysing the travel routes of the three drones, the investigation team secured definitive scientific evidence, or ‘smoking gun,’ to prove that Pyongyang is responsible for sending the drones,” ministry spokesperson Kim Min-seok told reporters.
The military authorities discovered three drones, one in Paju close to the western Demilitarised Zone on March 24, one on the border island of Baengnyeongdo on March 31 and another in Samcheok, close to the eastern DMZ on April 6.
Based on its analysis, the ministry said that the drone found on Baengnyeongdo Island took off from 27 kilometres southeast of Haju, Hwanghae Province. Its planned travel route, stored in the drone’s memory chip, matched the routes along which the drone took photos, officials explained.
The drone from Paju took off from 5 kilometres northwest of Gaeseong, while the drone from Samcheok originated from 17 kilometres east of Pyongang, in the North’s Gangwon Province.
Seoul called the dispatch of the drones a clear military provocation and violation of the Armistice Agreement, and a 1992 bilateral nonaggression pact. It said that it planned to ask the UN Command to send a warning to the North about the drone activities.
The drone case has triggered intense criticism of South Korea’s “porous air defence”. The cameras of the drones turned out to have taken photos of major military installations on South Korea’s frontline islands and even the presidential residence of Cheong Wa Dae.
To counter threats from North Korea’s drone campaigns, Seoul is considering introducing more advanced radars and developing a jamming system to disrupt drone operations and a system to intercept unmanned aircraft.