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South Korea. North Korean drones violated airspace. Shots were fired, passenger flights were suspended

South Korea.  North Korean drones violated airspace.  Shots were fired, passenger flights were suspended

South Korea. North Korean drones violated airspace. Shots were fired, passenger flights were suspended

South Korea scrambled fighter jets and attack helicopters on Monday and fired shots after North Korean drones violated its airspace. One of the drones flew over the capital, Seoul. “This is a clear act of provocation,” a South Korean military official said. Earlier, departures were suspended at Incheon and Gimpo airports in South Korea at the request of the military. After an hour, traffic resumed.

The Korean War of 1950-53 ended only in a truce. No peace agreement has been concluded so far. Therefore, the Korean states are formally at war, and the demarcation line separating them is one of the most heavily fortified areas in the world. The drones, detected by the South Korean military, flew over the line from North Korea on Monday. It happened around 10:25 local time (2:25 in Poland).

In answer South Korea it scrambled fighters and attack helicopters on Monday and fired shots.

North Korean drones violated South Korean airspacePAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

South Korea talks about provocation

“This is a clear act of provocation by the North,” said Lee Seung-o, a representative of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Five North Korean drones crossed the country’s border, one of which flew over the capital, Seoul, he said. Lee added that the military opened fire on the drones, initially as warning shots. A military official did not disclose whether any of the drones were shot down. Yonhap news agency reports that about 100 shots were fired, but Pyongyang’s planes were not shot down.

It is unclear if the drones were armed.

North Korean drones violated South Korean airspacePAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

Intervention accident

There was an accident during the intervention of South Korean forces. A KA-1 light attack aircraft crashed shortly after leaving Wonju base in the east of the country, a defense ministry official in Seoul said. The two pilots managed to eject and are in the hospital, he added.

The plane crashed into a rice field in Hoengseong, Gangwon Province. No one on the ground was injured and no buildings were damaged

The wreckage of the KA-1 plane in a rice field in Hoengseong, Gangwon Province PAP/EPA/YONHAP

Suspended air traffic

Before the information about the violation of South Korean airspace by the unmanned aerial vehicle appeared, the South Korean transport ministry announced the temporary suspension of departures from the country’s two main airports.

Flights were suspended at 13:08 local time (5 a.m. in Poland) in Gimpo and 13:22 in Incheon. After about an hour, at 14.10, traffic at both airports was resumed.

Incheon Airport in South KoreaReuters Archive

Seoul Incheon Airport is South Korea’s main international airport, located on an island near the city of Incheon, about 50 kilometers from Seoul. It is currently the largest airport in the country and one of the busiest hubs in Asia.

Formerly South Korea’s international airport, Gimpo Airport now serves mainly domestic flights.

Both airports are connected by a special highway.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JEON HEON-KYUN

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