‘N. Korean drone took pictures of anti-missile system’

Seoul: The South Korean army on Tuesday said a suspected North Korean drone spotted over its border last week captured pictures of the Thaad anti-missile system.

The device, equipped with a camera and a 64-GB memory card, was seized on June 9 in a mountainous area near the border between the two countries after it apparently crashed, reports Efe news.

The South Korean army seized the drone and confirmed that the device had taken photos of the Thaad site in Seongju, according to a defence official.

More than 10 photos of the US-made missile defence system, taken from a height of two to three metres, were among the hundreds of photos found on the memory card, while the rest were of forests and residential areas.

Seoul estimates that Pyongyang operates over 300 drones for military purposes and that, if the origin of the new device is confirmed, it would be a demonstration of North Korea’s progress in espionage and use of military technology.

The US and South Korean governments under former President Park Geun-hye agreed to install the Thaad anti-missile system in last July as a preventive measure against North Korea’s repeated missile tests.

Its deployment began this April, but South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s government called for its suspension on June 7 in order to study its environmental impact, although a part of the system that was already deployed remains operational.