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S. Korea Finds Suspected North Drone Wreckage in Sea

  • Reuters

South Korea's military has recovered the wreckage of unmanned aircraft, believed to be a North Korean drone, in waters off an island near a disputed maritime border, an official said on Monday.

The aircraft's light blue wreckage was found 6 kilometers west of Baengnyeong island, and bore similarities to drones that had been found earlier this year, that investigators concluded were launched by North Korea.

It had a wingspan of 80 centimeters and was about a meter long, but unlike the earlier drones found it did not have a camera on board, a military official said.

South Korean and U.S. officials jointly examined three drones recovered earlier this year from different locations near the border, and concluded they had been used by North Korea to spy on South Korean installations.

The Korean peninsula is regarded as one of the riskiest global flashpoints, with the two countries locked in a tense standoff along a Demilitarized Zone established at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Back in March, one drone was discovered following a three-hour exchange of artillery fire between North and South Korea in waters near the disputed maritime border.

In the same month, another drone was recovered after it had flown over the South Korean presidential complex in Seoul. Aerial pictures were found in its on-board camera. North Korea accused U.S. and South Korean authorities of fabricating the results of their examinations of the drone.

South Korea's military was criticized for failing to spot or stop the unidentified aircraft that had entered its airspace and flown over the capital.

Adding to criticism, the military announced in May that it had found a suspected North Korean drone, but it later turned out to be the door of a portable toilet.