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Kim Jong Un Sent 'Model Airplane' Drone, South Korea Alleges

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A South Korean military investigation confirmed Wednesday that two drones found near its border had been piloted by Kim Jong Un's military.

"The government has concluded that North Korea [flew the unmanned aircraft]," Unification Ministry spokeswoman Park Soo-jin told a Wednesday news briefing, according to a Reuters translation.

Image: Wreckage of a crashed drone
The wreckage of a crashed drone found on Baengnyeong island Monday.SOUTH KOREAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFP - Getty Images

One drone was discovered on the island of Baengnyeong less than an hour after North Korea fired more than 100 artillery rounds into disputed waters as part of a drill on Monday, prompting the South to fire back. A similar unmanned aircraft was found near the border town of Paju on March 24.

"The two unmanned aerial vehicles are prime-type spy drones," a defense ministry official told South Korea's news agency on condition of anonymity. NBC News could not immediately verify the official's comments.

The drone found on Baengnyeong was briefly detected on radar during the live-fire exercise, but the one discovered near Paju evaded low-altitude detection systems, the official told Yonhap.

The official said this aircraft was found to contain pictures of military installations and even the residential quarters of Seoul's presidential compound, exposing holes in South Korea's air defense.

Image: A crashed drone found on March 24 in Paju, South Korea
A drone South Korea said crashed near the border town of Paju on March 24.SOUTH KOREAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFP - Getty Images

The aircraft were similar in color but far smaller than the drones displayed by North Korea during parades and drills last year.

Experts told NBC News Tuesday that the smaller drones were more akin to a "a model airplane fitted with a camera" and were not comparable to the drones used by the U.S. and other nations with advanced military capabilities.

Reuters contributed to this report.

- Alexander Smith

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