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Tech by VICE

Seriously, North Korea, These Are Your Drones?

North Korea has crashed two drones in South Korean territory in the past two weeks, and they look like vintage model airplanes.

by Daniel Stuckey
Apr 2 2014, 8:55pm
Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry.

In the past two weeks, South Korea has discovered downed model airplanes drones in its territory. A military inquiry by the South has now confirmed, according to airborne mystery investigator CNN, that "Pyongyang was behind a drone found in the South."

One of the sky blue-painted, propeller-powered vehicles was sighted on Baengnyeong Island, a strategic military location for the South. The drone was found after the North and South had been exchanging fire off the peninsula's west coast. According to officials, the recovered drone had a southern heading. It's the second drone discovered by the South.

Photo: South Korean Defense Ministry.

About a week prior to finding the drone on Baengnyeong, another had crashed in Paju, a city just south of the DMZ. That drone had snapped a picture of the Blue House, where Park Geun-hye, the South Korean president resides. Despite being laughably low-tech, painted with clouds (for cammo purposes?), and called "elementary level," by Southern military officials, the found drones only further tension and panic.

Koh Yuwhan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University told CNN "the same drones can be used for terrorist attacks," and outfitted with dangerous weapons. The drones, he added, could also be Pyongyang's attempt to collect aerial information due to having no satellites. Or, it could just be a stunt, and part of an ongoing pissing contest: A showing of the North's capabilities.

Whatever the case may be, escalations in the North have caused China to plead that its ally simmer down, "China opposes actions that undermine (the) peace and stability of the Peninsula," urged Hong Lei of China's foreign ministry, "...keep calm, exercise restraint, be discreet in words and deeds."

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, reacted, "The provocation that the North Koreans have, once again, engaged in, is dangerous and it needs to stop."