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Unidentified Drone Found on South Korean Island

  • VOA News

An unidentified drone has crashed on a South Korean island, near the disputed maritime border with North Korea -- one day after the two sides exchanged artillery fire into the sea.

The wreckage was discovered Tuesday on Baengnyeong island, which is just south of the sea border.

A defense ministry official in Seoul said the wreckage has been retrieved for analysis, but he declined to speculate if it belongs to North Korea.

Yang Wook, researcher at the Defense Security Forum, told VOA's Korean service that it was very possible the drone was operated by Pyongyang.

"There is ample room for the possibility that this drone might have been flown by North Korea. The North might have flown it to check if the artillery shells it fired hit any targets. The drone is a useful tool for that purpose," he said.

On Monday, North Korea fired 100 artillery rounds into the sea on the South Korean side of the maritime border, prompting Seoul to fire its own rounds back into northern waters. No one was injured in the exchange.

The United States called the North Korean actions dangerous, and said they must stop.

China has said it is concerned by Pyongyang's actions, and has called for restraint from both North and South Korea.

The North in recent weeks has increased threatening rhetoric and conducted a series of rocket and ballistic missile launches into waters off the east coast of the Korean peninsula.

Pyongyang threatened on Sunday to conduct what it called "a new form of nuclear test" after the U.N. Security Council condemned the North's recent ballistic missile launches.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.)
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