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N.K.’s UAV flies over S.K., surveys THAAD in Seongju

Posted June. 14, 2017 07:15,   

Updated June. 14, 2017 07:32

North Korea’s unmanned aerial vehicle that was discovered on a hilly area in Inje County, Gangwon Province recently is found to have taken aerial photos of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province, it has been revealed on Tuesday. The South Korean military is conducting in-depth analysis of the UAV, judging that the vehicle proves that the North Korean military is conducting reconnaissance activities in the South.

According to the South Korean military, the memory stick (64 gigabits) in the Sony camera that was mounted on the UAV contained 400 to 500 photos. About 10 of them were photos of the THAAD site in Seongju, and the rest were images of mountains and forest.

“The photos are believed to have been taken aerially from an altitude of 2 to 3 kilometers,” a South Korean military source said. “The resolution of the photos is high enough to allow one to clearly identify a general view of the THAAD site in Seongju, the THAAD missile launchers, the detection radar, and a combat control center.” However, since the memory stick has been formatted, finding date and time when the photos were taken is reportedly difficult.

The South Korean military said the UAV's taking photos started from the skies several kilometers north of the THAAD site in Seongju and up to the south of the THAAD base, and crashed while returning to the North afterwards. “Considering that the UAV’s fuel tank was empty when it was discovered, it is believed to have fallen onto the land due to depletion of fuel,” another South Korean military source said.

The South Korean military plans to conduct in-depth analysis of the North’s mission order contained in the UAV’s memory stick in collaboration with U.S. experts, and figure out and announce the place of its origin, and the return destination, exact aviation route, and the number of flights. The three North Korean UAVs, which were discovered in succession on Baeknyeong Island and Paju in Gyeonggi Province and Samcheok in Gangwon Province between March and April 2014, were found to have departed and were all returning to areas (Haeju, Kaesong, and Pyonggang) in North Korea, which confirmed that they were provocations made by Pyongyang.

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com