The drones’ master revealedThe Ministry of National Defense announced yesterday that the three drones found in Paju in Gyeonggi, on Baengnyeong Island on the tense maritime border in the West Sea and Samcheok on the east coast in March and April all originated from North Korea. The ministry said it reached its conclusion after analyzing all the flight records contained in the memory chips of the three unmanned aerial vehicles. The flight schedules of the drones discovered in Paju and Baengnyeong Island coincided with their actual flight routes in the south. The drone in Paju took pictures of core facilities in the Seoul metropolitan area, including the Blue House, and the one that crashed on Baengnyeong Island photographed military bases on the Yellow Sea. This decisive evidence proves who really was behind an aerial infiltration campaign aimed at gathering sensitive information about the South. We wonder how North Korea can still deny such irrefutable evidence.
The drone penetration constitutes a clear violation of the Armistice Agreement and the mutual nonaggression treaty as well as a brazen provocation against the South. The Defense Ministry said it will strongly respond to such types of aggression to remind Pyongyang that it must pay the price for what it does. The North’s drone infiltration has also left a huge security challenge as we didn’t even know the existence of such unmanned aerial vehicles when they crossed into our territory from east coast to west. The government must reinforce our air defense capabilities by introducing low-altitude radar to detect them.
The investigation of the drone infiltration also exposed loopholes in international coordination to curb transactions of commercial components that can be used for military drones. According to the ministry, North Korea turned out to have imported drone parts from civilian companies in China and converted them into military drones aimed at penetrating our airspace. North Korea used the same components as those of Chinese drone companies. We need to intensify international coordination to prevent the making of more North Korean drones. If components of our own military equipment end up in North Korean hands, we would suffer.
The announcement by the ministry must end all the conspiracy theories about the drones. Above all, Jung Chung-rae, a lawmaker from the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, should take responsibility for his words. He said it was highly unlikely that North Korea sent the drones. He must make his position clear now.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 9, Page 30