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UN Command: Both Koreas breached armistice with drone flights

TOKYO, Jan 26 (KUNA) -- The US-led UN Command announced Thursday both South and North Korea violated the armistice by sending drones into each other's territory last month, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The UN Command released the outcome of a probe by its special investigation team into the North's Dec. 26 drone infiltrations, which led the South to send its drones north of the inter-Korean border in a "corresponding" counteraction.
"The special investigation team was able to determine that the Korean People's Army side committed a violation of the armistice when multiple North-side unmanned aerial systems entered ROK-controlled airspace," the command said in a press release.
ROK stands for the South's official name, the Republic of Korea. The command also said the employment of the South Korean military's unmanned aerial systems across the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas and into the North Korea-controlled airspace constituted an armistice breach.
It stressed adherence to the terms of the armistice is "essential" for mitigating the risk of both accidental and deliberate incidents, and for preserving a cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula. "The UN Command will continue to work closely with ROK partners towards those ends," it said.
The disclosure of the investigation outcome came amid concerns it could risk friction with the Seoul government, the news agency said. The South's Defense Ministry defended its sending of the drones into the North's territory as the exercise of its right to "self-defense," stressing the right is not restricted by the armistice.
The UN Command is an enforcer of the armistice that effectively ended the Korean War in 1953. (end) mk.aa