South Korea Eyes Kim Jong Un's Regime After Drone Crashes

Image: Wreckage of a crashed drone on Baengnyeong island
Wreckage of the crashed drone on the island of Baengnyeong.YONHAP via AFP - Getty Images

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SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea is investigating whether a drone that crashed on one of its islands originated in North Korea, according to reports Tuesday.

The unmanned aircraft fell on the island of Baengnyeong at around 4 p.m. Monday (3 a.m. ET) after the North and South exchanged hundreds of shells in disputed waters off their western coast.

A spokesperson for the joint military command between the United States and South Korea confirmed to NBC News early Tuesday that a drone had been found by a resident of the island. The official said it was being analyzed.

Wreckage of the crashed drone on the island of Baengnyeong.YONHAP via AFP - Getty Images

"As an in-depth analysis is currently under way, we cannot confirm which country made this drone," a military source told South Korea's Yonhap news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity. "But there is a possibility that it belongs to North Korea."

A military official told Reuters that the South is looking into any possible link between the drone and the espionage operations of Kim Jong Un's regime.

North Korea displayed what it said were drone aircraft during a military parade in Pyongyang last year.ED JONES / AFP - Getty Images, file

South Korean officials have disassembled the drone to try to determine its origin. The source told Yonhap said the aircraft was 7-10 feet long, had a Japanese engine and Chinese components, and was fitted with a small camera.

It was similar to another drone collected near the border city of Paju on March 24, another source told Yonhap.

Reuters contributed to this report.

- Julie Yoo and Alexander Smith