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Seoul lacks measures to defend against N. Korean drones
APRIL 03, 2014 05:27  
The aerial security over South Korea`s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has been breached, as Seoul failed to detect a North Korean drone attempting to spy on the inside on the presidential office. If further developed, unmanned aerial vehicles can be used for terror purposes. Experts say that Seoul urgently needs to draw up measures to tighten security over Cheong Wa Dae, as there is currently no way to perfectly block drones before they approach the president`s office.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Min Kyung-wook confirmed Wednesday that Seoul believes the drones that crashed on Baengnyeong Island on March 31 and Paju, Gyeonggi Province on March 24 were from North Korea.

"It is difficult to spot small unmanned aircrafts with radar," he said, adding Cheong Wa Dae`s National Security Council will convene a meeting with the military after the ongoing investigation is over to discuss measures to tighten aerial security. It is extremely unusual for Cheong Wa Dae to publicly reveal the seriousness of security issues.

Currently, the South Korean Army`s Capital Defense Command and Cheong Wa Dae do not have equipment sophisticated enough to detect drones, depending almost entirely on naked eye observations.

Seoul`s military also announced the interim result of its probe into the crashed drones, saying it is highly likely that both were from North Korea.

"It appears that the drone found in Paju flew to Seoul from the North and then crashed on its way back to the North," a military official said. He noted that the drone has inscriptions of an expiration information in Korean with North Korean spelling standard on the back of its battery.

"There was enough fuel left in the fuel tank on the fuselage for the drone to return to North Korea," the official said, concluding that it is "highly likely" that the aircraft flew from the North, also considering its characteristics as a military drone.

An official at Seoul`s Ministry of National Defense noted that a number of photographs taken at 1.5 kilometers above northern Gyeonggi Province and Seoul were found on a small-sized camera mounted on the drone. However, he refused to confirm‍ whether it approached Cheong Wa Dae, citing concerns over exposure of its access route. It has been known that the resolution of photographs was equivalent to those taken by a zoomless digital single-lens reflex camera from a distance of 1 kilometer.

"The drones is made at a low level of technology but can be used for terror purposes if further developed, making it urgent (for Seoul) to draw up measures," the official said. "At this opportunity, we plan to beef up the military`s overall anti-aircraft operation system, including drawing up measures against North Korea`s ultra-light and ultra-small unmanned aerial vehicles."

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