The South Korean military moved to scramble fighter jets and attack helicopters in response to a potential threat from its neighbor North Korea. According to The Daily Wire, The aircraft were scrambled after North Korea flew five drones across the demilitarized zone (DMZ), violating North Korea’s airspace.
Reports on The AP News revealed that South Korea’s military fired warning shots and flew surveillance assets across the border, separating it from the Hermit Kingdom on Monday. The airspace violation, the first of its kind in five years, saw one drone fly as far as the northern part of the South Korean capital region.
According to South Korea’s Defense Ministry, the military fired a combined 100 rounds. However, it was not immediately known whether any of the drones were shot down. There were also no reports of civilian damage on the ground.
One of the drones is reported to have flown for up to three hours in South Korean airspace before returning to the North, while the others disappeared from the South’s radar one after the other, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said.
During the scramble, A KA-1 attack plane crashed just after taking off, with both pilots ejected from the plane unarmed. The South Korean military also responded by sending its own surveillance planes into North Korean airspace to photograph North Korean military facilities.
“Our military will thoroughly and resolutely respond to this kind of North Korean provocation,” said the director of operations at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Maj. Gen. Lee Seung-o.
This latest incident comes three months after the North fired a ballistic missile over Japan and three days after it fired two short-range ballistic missiles in its latest weapons tests this year.
According to a White House National Security official who commented on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to be identified, U.S. officials are working closely with South Korea on the nature of the incursion.
“We recognize the need of the ROK to protect its territorial integrity,” said the official. “The U.S. commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea remains ironclad.”