South Korea fires warning shots after North Korean drones enter its airspace


South Korea’s military scrambled fighter jets and attack helicopters on Monday after five North Korean drones entered its airspace, with one aircraft crashing, according to the country’s defense ministry.

The ministry said the South Korean military fired shots at the drones, but added that it could not confirm whether any drones had been shot down.

Lee Seung-oh, a South Korean defense official, said four of the drones flew around Ganghwa island and one flew over Seoul’s northern airspace.

“This is a clear provocation and invasion of our airspace by North Korea,” Lee said during a briefing.

A South Korean KA-1 light attack aircraft crashed on takeoff while deployed to respond to the drones, according to the Defense Ministry. The cause of the accident is unclear, and no casualties have been reported.

In response to the airspace violation, Lee said, the South Korean military sent its unmanned and unmanned reconnaissance assets to the inter-Korean border region, some of which went into North Korean territory.

The assets carried out a reconnaissance mission, including filming North Korean military installations, Lee added.

South Korea’s military first detected the drones in the skies near the northwestern city of Gimpo at around 10:25 local time on Monday, according to the country’s defense ministry.

The last time a North Korean drone was detected below the inter-Korean border was in 2017, according to South Korea’s defense ministry. At the time, South Korea said it had acquired a North Korean crash drone that had been spying on a US-built missile system in the country.

North Korea has strongly stepped up its missile tests this year, often launching multiple weapons at the same time. It has delivered missiles on 36 separate days – the highest annual tally since Kim Jong Un came to power in 2012.

Most recently, North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday, according to South Korean officials. The missiles were fired from Pyongyang’s Sunan area into the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

The secretive country usually tests its missiles this way, firing them at a lofted angle so they land in the waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

In October, however, it fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) on a conventional trajectory that passed over Japan for the first time in five years.

In November, he claimed to have launched a “new type” ICBM, the Hwasong-17, from Pyongyang International Airfield, a missile that could theoretically reach the US mainland. And last week, Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and a top official in the regime, claimed in state media that North Korea was ready to test an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a conventional cruise, flight pattern which could be there. prove that the army can threaten the continental United States.

US and South Korean experts have warned that Pyongyang may be preparing for a nuclear test, its first in more than five years. North Korea has been developing its nuclear missile forces in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, ramping up its activities since the last three meetings in 2019 between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump failed. to give any agreement.

In October, Kim warned that his nuclear forces are fully prepared for “actual war.”

“Our nuclear combat forces… have once again been fully prepared for actual war to bring the enemies under their control,” Kim said in comments reported by North Korea’s state-run Central News Agency.


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