South Korea to to develop anti-drone system amid standoff with North

South Korea which has been using drones – such as one above – for public delivery systems in remote mountain and island villages now wants to weaponize them for defense purposes. (AFP file photo)
Updated 17 September 2019

South Korea to to develop anti-drone system amid standoff with North

  • The system, nicknamed Block-I, is designed to track and destroy small drones and other aircraft
  • The two Koreas are technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty

SEOUL: South Korea is to invest 88 billion won ($74 million) to develop a weapons system by 2023 that can detect and strike drones, its procurement agency said on Tuesday, after incidents of infiltration by North Korean spy drones.
The system, nicknamed Block-I, is designed to track and destroy small drones and other aircraft by locking invisible optical fiber razors on a target at close range, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said.
“We aim to improve the system so that it will ultimately be capable of intercepting a fighter jet and satellite,” Song Chang-joon, a senior official at DAPA, said in a statement.
A North Korean drone was found in 2017 on the South Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Koreas.
About 550 photographs of the site of a US anti-missile defense system, taken with a built-in camera, were recovered from the drone, South Korean officials said.
In 2014, a North Korean drone crashed while returning to the North after reconnaissance missions that included flying directly above the South’s presidential Blue House and taking pictures of it, according to the South Korean military.
The anti-drone system is part of a South Korean drive to funnel resources into modernizing its military even as it seeks to defuse tension with North Korea through talks.
The two Koreas are technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.


Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

Updated 21 January 2020

Karzai urges Ghani to drop truce as pre-condition for talks with Taliban

  • Ex-president says Taliban offer to reduce violence a ‘major development’

KABUL: Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged President Ashraf Ghani to drop the pre-condition of cease-fire to begin talks with the Taliban amid high hope that the US and Taliban delegates will sign a deal following more than a year of secret discussions.

Speaking in an interview with BBC local service, Karzai said the government “should not block intra-Afghan dialogue under the pretext of cease-fire.” He said the Taliban offer for reduction in violence as the group says is nearing to ink the deal with American diplomats in Qatar, was a “major development.”

He said Ghani needed to accept the Taliban offer.

Ghani says truce is a must ahead of starting any negotiations with the Taliban calling reduction in violence a general term and arguing that such a call by the Taliban political leaders in Qatar only goes to show that they have control over field commanders back in Afghanistan.

The Taliban say the group will announce truce when the intra-Afghan dialogue begins which will happen after Washington sets timetable for withdrawal of the troops.

Washington at least on one occasion called off the talks with the Taliban in Qatar due to Taliban attacks back in Afghanistan as discussions continued in Qatar despite none of the warring sides having committed to halt offensives during the talks.

Ghani’s government has been sidelined from all rounds of talks between the Taliban delegates and US diplomats led by Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar. There has also been rift between Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, who shares power with the president in the National Unity Government, on the pre-condition of cease-fire.

Unlike Ghani, Abdullah is happy with reduction of violence. Talking in a meeting of council of ministers, Abdullah on Monday indirectly said Ghani had taken the peace process in his monopoly.

 “Peace is not one person’s monopoly, one person’s wish — but it is a collective desire, and the people of Afghanistan have the right to take a position regarding the peace process,” said Abdullah.