12:17 GMT23 January 2021
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    A camera-equipped drone found crashed on a mountainside in South Korea has been confirmed by Seoul to be an unmanned North Korean military surveillance aircraft.

    According to the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a branch of the South Korean Defense Ministry, the drone is of North Korean manufacture and was deployed from Kumgang County in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on May 2, Yonhap News Agency reported.

    The DPRK drone, discovered by a local man on the side of a mountain just over the South Korean border in early June, was thoroughly examined by the South's ADD, which ran detailed reverse-engineering of its camera, motherboard, GPS and other circuitry.

    A South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson stated that it had been "confirmed that it's North Korea's small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on the basis of clear scientific evidence from the analysis of its flight path."

    Analysis of the data contained within the onboard computer revealed that the DPRK drone had been in the air for about five and a half hours prior to crashing, likely due to losing access to fuel because of a mechanical malfunction.

    While airborne, the drone took 551 photos, including of the South Korean site of the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system currently installed in Seongju, about 180 miles southeast of Seoul.

    Additional analysis of the drone revealed that its software included instructions to return to its home base in the DPRK, according to Yonhap.

    The drone, which contains a tiny 400 gram Sony-built camera, has a wingspan of just over nine feet, an engine with a 50cc displacement, and a fuel tank with a capacity of just under two gallons.

    The drone flew some 280 miles before crashing.

    South Korean military officials issued several strongly worded rebukes to the DPRK, following the ADD revelations.

    "North Korea's act this time is a clear military provocation violating the [1953] Armistice Agreement and the [1992] bilateral nonaggression pact," said Army Brigadier General Heo Tae-keun, a deputy chief at the policy planning office.

    Army Brigadier General Jeon Dong-jin, a deputy director for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, "Our military strongly denounces North Korea's continued drone infiltration provocations and urges it to once again immediately stop all types of provocations."


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    provocation, drone, surveillance, South Korean Defense Ministry, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), US, Seoul, Pyongyang, South Korea
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