South Korea accuses North of using drone to spy on US missile system
- The drone had 10 aerial photographs of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system
- The US-built missile defense system is being deployed in South Korea
The unmanned aerial vehicle, which was discovered Friday, was equipped with a SONY digital camera that had hundreds of photographs on it, some from 2-3 kilometers (1.2-1.8 miles) high, according to an official with the South Korean military.
About 10 of them were aerial shots of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system — more than 100 miles away from the border — which is designed to shoot North Korea’s ballistic missiles down before they can do damage, the official said.
It likely crashed after running out of fuel, the official added.
The Baengnyeong drone was found days after another one was spotted in Paju, a city that sits near the demilitarized zone which divides the two countries.
It’s one of the most the heavily militarized and monitored places on the planet, and it’s hard for objects to travel past it undetected.
Last month, South Korean authorities announced that an unidentified object flew across the border, sparking rumors that it might be a North Korean drone.
THAAD’s deployment has been a polarizing issue for most of the region. Beyond angering the North Koreans, experts say the Chinese worry the United States could use the system’s advanced radar to spy inside China.
The decision to use THAAD was made by former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached and later ousted in a corruption scandal.