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What if N. Korean drones targeted S. Korean president?
APRIL 03, 2014 05:27  
South Korea`s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said that it believes the drones which crashed in Paju, Gyeonggi Province and Baengnyeong Island late last month were from North Korea. The camera on the drone in Paju had aerial photographs of Cheong Wa Dae, while photos of South Korean military bases on northwestern frontline islands were found on the other one that crashed on Baengnyeong Island. Even though the aerial security over the presidential office and frontline military units has been breached, the South Korean military were neither aware of the infiltration nor capable of responding to it. It is deplorable to hear that there would nothing that the South can do even if a North Korean drone takes a direct aim at the South Korean president for attack.

Uriminjokkiri, a North Korean propaganda medium targeting the South, carried an article in May 2013, claiming that North Korea was able to attack Cheong Wa Dae and the Capital Defense Command if Pyongyang uses unmanned aircrafts that would go round mountains surrounding Seoul. It is impossible for the North to strike Cheong Wa Dae with long-range artillery or ballistic missiles because the presidential office is protected by mountains. However, it would be a totally different story if the North uses unmanned aircrafts that would rush into a target for a suicide bombing attack. It takes only 180 seconds for a drone taking off from Kaesong to reach Cheong Wa Dae. The North`s threats have proved true. Shin In-kyun, representative of the Korea Defense Network, a South Korean nongovernmental organization campaigning for Seoul`s military buildup, expressed concern, saying, "If the North finds out about the president`s movements, it can directly attack her when she get on or out of a car."

In May last year, Cheong Wa Dae provided the Presidential Security Service with shotguns and electromagnetic wave interception devices so that security agents can shoot down North Korean drones. Howeever, they depend on naked eye observations due to lack of equipment capable of spotting small-sized drones flying at a low altitude. Even though the South`s air defense network for the defense of the capital city is porous, the South Korean military is unable to detect infiltration before enemy drones crash. It is a global trend to conduct military activities using drones. The United States sent drones into Iraq and Afghanistan to track and kill al-Qaeda leaders on a real-time basis. Even if the North`s drones are relatively low-tech devices, the South Korean military is incapable of protecting the safety of the Commander-in-Chief from their threats.

It is very likely that the North has flown drones into the South`s aerial space to conduct surveillance on Cheong Wa Dae and gather information for a long time. We wonder what can Seoul do against ever-growing threats from the North, which possesses nuclear weapons, missiles, biochemical weapons, long-range guns and rocket launchers. Seoul`s project to introduce a tactical airship has gone nowhere due to disputes with contractors and destruction incidents during test flights. North Korean drones infiltrating into the air space over Cheong Wa Dae is as shocking as the 1968 infiltration by armed North Korean agents to an area right behind the presidential office. It is frustrating to wonder what the Presidential Security Service and the South Korean military are doing to defend against North Korean infiltrations using high-tech weapons.

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