SEOUL, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has sent three spying drones to South Korea for reconnaissance purposes, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Friday.
Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told reporters that multiple circumstantial evidences were identified to confirm the three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were dispatched by the DRPK, citing the appearances and limited flying capability.
The ministry held a press briefing to announce its preliminary investigation result into the three drones found in the western and eastern frontline areas in recent weeks.
The first DPRK drone was found on March 24 in Paju, the northwestern South Korean city close to the land border. The second one was discovered in the Baengnyeong Island just south of the disputed western sea boundary on March 31 when the two Koreas exchanged artillery fires.
One more UAV, flown by the DPRK possibly last year, was spotted on April 6 in Samcheok, around 290 km east of Seoul and some 130 km south of the military demarcation line between the two Koreas.
The three drones, which were found in different places, had the similar color and pattern as those displayed by the DPRK during the military parade in April 2012 and shown in March 2013 when top DPRK leader inspected a unit.
The three drones were smaller than those showed off by Pyongyang in the past, which was a 5.6 meters long and 5.8 meters wide. Those found in Paju and Samcheok was 1.93 meters long and 1. 22 meters wide and the drone spotted in the Baengnyeong Island was 2.46 meters long and 1.83 meters wide.
Given weather conditions and round-trip distance, it was impossible for the drones to be flown from neighboring countries such as China and Japan, the ministry said.
The drones were estimated to have a flying range of 180-300 km given the size of fuel tanks, engine capability and photos taken by cameras within the drones.
In addition, six fingerprints unregistered in South Korea's identification database were detected on the surface of the drones.
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