Seoul, Dec 28 (EFE).- South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol on Wednesday berated his defense minister for failing to shoot down five North Korean drones that infiltrated national airspace.
“How can there be none preparing against North Korean drone attacks? There were many similar incidents in the past, so what have you been doing until now?” Yoon asked Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup, according to Yonhap news agency citing an unnamed official who was in the meeting.
“Are you saying there was no proper training and that you did nothing?” he also reportedly asked.
On Monday the five drones crossed the border between the two Koreas and one of them even flew over the north of Seoul before returning to the North.
The South’s military deployed planes to track and shoot down the other four around the island of Ganghwa, off the western maritime border, but eventually lost track of them.
On Tuesday, the Joint Chiefs of Staff apologized for the failure but argued the difficulty of shooting down drones with wingspans of less than three meters and the danger of harm to the civilian population.
In a subsequent meeting with his Cabinet, Yoon insisted again Wednesday on the need to create a drone unit as soon as possible and promised to strengthen surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with state-of-the-art stealth drones, Yonhap reported.
After the North Korean incursion, Seoul sent drones to the North to take pictures of military installations.
These exchanges come amid heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula at the end of a year in which North Korea has carried out a record number of weapons tests and in which the South and the US have resumed major military maneuvers and temporarily deployed US strategic assets. EFE