South Korea discovers drone spying on US anti-missile system | News | DW | 13.06.2017
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Defense

South Korea discovers drone spying on US anti-missile system

The suspected North Korean drone had captured hundreds of images, including 10 of the contentious defense system. The drone featured low-tech traits similar to drones discovered south of the demilitarized zone in 2014.

The South Korean military on Tuesday said a suspected North Korean drone took photographs of a US missile defense shield before crashing on its way back to the community country.

"We confirmed that it took about 10 photos" of an anti-missile system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), deployed in the southeastern town of Seongju, a South Korean defense official told reports.

"Two missile launchers and the fire control radar of the system, which have already been deployed, were also included in the pictures," he added, noting that the camera had snapped hundreds of photographs.

Read more: Can North Korea's elites oust Kim Jong Un?

This is not the first time Seoul has discovered drones reportedly belonging to Pyongyang on South Korean soil. In 2014, South Korean authorities found several drones believed to belong to North Korea south of their shared border.

The drone discovered on Tuesday shared similarities with those found in 2014, such as low technology features.

Contentious deployment

THAAD, an anti-missile defense system aimed at defending against North Korean missiles, has been a contentious deployment in South Korea, as well as the region.

In May, US authorities announced that THAAD was operational, prompting concerns from North Korea as well as its ally, China. In response to the announcement, Beijing urged involved parties to "immediately stop the deployment."

Last week, the South Korean presidency called for the anti-missile system program to be suspended. The announcement followed reports that South Korean President Moon Jae-in was furious after learning four additional THAAD launchers had been brought into the country and stored at a US military facility.

Prior to her impeachment, President Park Geun-hye's government had approved the THAAD defense system.

ls/rc (Reuters, AP)

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