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(LEAD) Ruling party calls for stronger defense posture against N.K. provocations following drone intrusion

All News 14:43 December 27, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS main opposition party's comments; CHANGES photo)
By Kim Na-young

SEOUL, Dec. 27 (Yonhap) -- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) expressed shock Tuesday at North Korean drones' infiltration into South Korean airspace the previous day, calling for measures to ensure military readiness against provocations.

On Monday, South Korea's military detected five unmanned aerial vehicles flying across the Military Demarcation Line separating the two Koreas. The vehicles were spotted flying in border areas of Gyeonggi Province, with one of them flying all the way to the northern part of Seoul. It marked the first such intrusion in five years.

"It is a big shock that an enemy's drone flew to the center of Seoul without any restriction and also that our attack aircraft crashed during corresponding action," Rep. Joo Ho-young, the PPP floor leader, said in a party meeting.

South Korea's military deployed a KA-1 light attack aircraft to respond to drone infiltrations, but for an unknown reason, it crashed in Hoengseong County, about 140 kilometers east of Seoul. Both of the pilots escaped safely.

"We should thoroughly check why the military did not prepare for such infiltration despite similar incidents in the past and be better prepared," Joo said, noting that the military should not make a single mistake as it is the "last bastion" in protecting people's lives.

PPP Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, who declared his bid for the PPP's chairmanship earlier in the day, called on the government of President Yoon Suk Yeol to reexamine the country's overall security posture, saying in his Facebook post that the government is also partly responsible for Pyongyang's persistent military provocations.

The main opposition Democratic Party (DP) slammed the Yoon administration's response to the incident.

"Five North Korean drones crisscrossed our airspace for more than five hours but we failed to shoot them down," the DP's top policymaker Kim Sung-hwan said.

The DP's army general-turned-lawmaker Kim Byung-joo criticized the presidential office for not holding a National Security Council meeting the previous day, accusing Yoon and the presidential office of insensibility to people's safety.

Kim also noted that the military has repeatedly been botching operations, such as the failure in the Oct. 4 firing of the Hyunmoo-2C missile in a tit-for-tat move for an earlier North Korean missile launch.

Meanwhile, a special PPP committee on Pyongyang's nuclear threats on Monday delivered a report to the government calling for an expansion of Seoul's "three-axis" defense system aimed at countering the North's evolving nuclear and missile threats and shifting the North Korean policy currently focused on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The "three-axis" refers to the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation, an operational plan to incapacitate the North Korean leadership in a major conflict; the Kill Chain preemptive strike platform; and the Korea Air and Missile Defense system.



People watch TV news about a North Korean drone that infiltrated South Korean airspace at Seoul Station in central Seoul on Dec. 27, 2022. (Yonhap)

People watch TV news about a North Korean drone that infiltrated South Korean airspace at Seoul Station in central Seoul on Dec. 27, 2022. (Yonhap)


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