South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) has confirmed that a camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that was found on 9 June on a mountain near the inter-Korean border was launched from North Korea.
The origin and flight path of the UAV were confirmed in an analysis of its onboard computer and camera, MND officials were quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying on 21 June.
The 1.8 m-long UAV was launched on 2 May from Kumgang County in North Korea's Kangwon Province and flew for a total of 5 hours and 30 minutes taking 551 photographs, including some of the deployment site for the US Army's Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in South Korea's Seongju County, MND spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said in a press briefing.
After taking photographs of the THAAD site in Seongju, which is located some 250 km from the eastern part of South Korea's border with the North, the UAV turned around and later crashed in Inje County in the South's Gangwon Province where it was found by a local resident on 9 June, added Moon.
According to the Yonhap news agency, the UAV, which has a 2.4 m wingspan, was programmed to fly back to the North: a finding that the South Korean military called the "smoking gun" for North Korea's responsibility.
"North Korea's act this time is a clear military provocation violating the  armistice agreement and the  bilateral non-aggression pact," Republic of Korea Army Brigadier General Heo Tae-keun, the deputy chief of the MND's policy planning office, was quoted by the media outlet as saying.
South Korea has requested the UN Command to look formally into the case in accordance with the Armistice Agreement that effectively ended the Korean War.
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