| Three small drones found crashed near the inter-Korean border in March and April were all sent from North Korea, South Korea`s defense ministry said Thursday.
According to the Ministry of National Defense, a team of South Korean and U.S. experts has confirmed that the drones originated from North Korea after analyzing flight plans and the coordinates of the geographical positioning system (GPS) stored in the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The announcement suggests that the South Korean military has secured decisive evidence that proves the North`s responsibility.
The result of the analysis confirms that the UAV discovered in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on March 24, was programmed to depart from and return to an area (37.9977N, 126.5105E) five kilometers northwest of the North Korean border city of Kaesong. The second drone found on March 31 on the northwestern border island of Baengnyeong was sent from and scheduled to return to a place (38.4057N, 127.4785E) 27 kilometers southeast of Haeju, South Hwanghae Province. The point of departure and return for the third drone found on April 6 near Samcheok, Gangwon Province was a place (38.4057N, 127.4785E) 17 kilometers east of Pyonggang in the North Korean side of the province.
"The coordinates put in on the all three UAVs` GPS showed that they were ordered to take off from North Korea and fly over South Korea before returning to their places of origin," a ministry official said. "All three were programmed to fly 1.8 to 2.5 kilometers over South Korea`s military facilities."
The joint investigation team has concluded that as the UAVs` performance capabilities and components are almost identical to those manufactured by Chinese companies, North Korea had modified unmanned aircrafts obtained via a third country such as Hong Kong.
"North Korea`s drone incursions are violation of the Armistice Agreement and South-North Non-Aggression Agreement, which is an apparent military provocation," defense ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said. "The South Korean military will sternly respond to North Korea`s provocation and deliver the warning through the United Nations Command`s Military Armistice Commission."