North Korea yesterday accused South Korea of fabricating a story about crashed spy drones to divert the public’s attention from its ferry disaster.
The drones were recovered in three different locations in the South between March 24 and Tuesday.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense last week called them “a clear military provocation” and said it had “smoking gun” proof that they had all been flown from North Korea.
Yesterday the North, repeating previous denials, said it has nothing to do with the drones “no matter how frequently the South Korean authorities cook up stories.”
“The [South Korean President] Park Geun-hye group foolishly seeks to find a way out of the worst ruling crisis,” an inspection group from the North’s powerful National Defense Commission (NDC) said in a statement.
The April 16 ferry sinking which killed more than 300 people is one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters, made all the more shocking by the loss of many young lives.
Families of the victims of the disaster have been extremely critical of the government over the disaster, as more evidence emerges of lax safety standards and possible corruption among state regulators.
“It is the inveterate bad habit of the South Korean authorities to seek a way out by fabricating shocking cases and linking them with the North whenever they are driven into a crisis,” the NDC group said.
The South Korean Ministry of Defense said that a joint investigation with US experts showed that the drones had been flown from different locations and that they had been programmed to fly over South Korean military installations before returning to the North.
North Korea displayed a set of what looked like very basic drones during a huge military parade that it staged in Pyongyang in July last year.
And in March last year, state media reported North Korean leader Kim Jong-un overseeing a military drill using “super-precision drone planes.”