A North Korean drone entered the South Korean presidential no-fly zone: army | Conflict News

The drone was among five North Korean unmanned aerial vehicles that entered South Korean airspace on December 26.

A North Korean drone entered the northern end of a 3.7km no-fly zone around South Korea’s presidential office in Seoul when it entered the country’s airspace last month, South Korean military officials said.

“He [the drone] briefly flew into the northern edge of the area, but did not approach key security facilities,” a military official told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Thursday.

The drone was among five North Korean unmanned aerial vehicles that crossed the border and entered South Korean airspace on December 26, prompting the South Korean military to jam fighter jets and attack helicopters. The military was unable to bring down the drones, which hovered over South Korean territory for hours.

South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff denied that any of the drones entered the presidential office’s no-fly zone, but confirmed on Thursday that a drone breached the northern end of the safe zone. but had not flown directly over the Yongsan area, where President Yoon Suk-yeol’s office is located.

The drone incursion has drawn criticism of South Korea’s air defenses at a time when North Korea poses a growing threat as it develops its ballistic missile technologies, including testing an unprecedented number of missiles Last year.

“The drone incursions have laid bare the South’s insufficient preparedness to detect, track and shoot down such small drones,” Yonhap said.

South Korea’s president warned on Wednesday that he would consider suspending a 2018 inter-Korean military pact with Pyongyang if drones violate his country’s airspace again.

“He instructed the national security office to consider suspending the validity of the military agreement if North Korea stage another provocation by invading our territory,” presidential press secretary Kim Eun-hye said during a briefing. a press briefing.

The 2018 accord, sealed on the sidelines of a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former South Korean President Moon Jae-in, called for an end to “all hostile acts”, creating a zone of air exclusion around the border and to remove landmines. and guard posts in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ).

Yoon’s threat to abandon the 2018 pact could mean the return of live-fire drills in the former no-fly zone and propaganda broadcasts across the border – all of which drew angry reactions from Pyongyang before the pact. Yoon criticized the military’s handling of the drone incident and urged the country’s forces to be ready to retaliate, even if it means “risking escalation”.

He also ordered the defense minister to launch a full drone unit that performs multi-purpose missions including surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare, and also called for a system to mass-produce stealth drones.

The South Korean military has operated two drone squadrons within its ground operations command since 2018, but they were primarily designed to prepare for future warfare.

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