UPDATE : 2018.11.16 FRI 13:10
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S. Korea says it fired warning shots at 'balloons' from North

A day after firing dozens of rounds at a flying object crossing the border from North Korea, South Korea's military said Wednesday it was apparently a balloon carrying propaganda leaflets.

The South's military announced Tuesday afternoon that it detected an unidentified object flying across the military demarcation line (MDL) in the eastern region.

More than 90 machine gun rounds were fired as warning shots under a related manual and the object disappeared from radar screens, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

The announcement further raised tensions on the peninsula following a series of ballistic missile launches by the North.

In a press briefing the following day, the Ministry of National Defense said there were actually around 10 flying objects detected close to the MDL and several of them crossed it.

In this undated file photo, South Korean soldiers patrol the border with North Korea. (Yonhap)

"Judging from the results of an analysis, (we) believe there is a low possibility that the objects were drones," the ministry's spokesman Moon Sang-gyun said.

They are presumed to have been balloons carrying propaganda leaflets from the North, he added.

Their trajectory was similar to the direction of the wind, while the round objects were differentiated from the elongated balloons that South Korean activists use to send anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the North.

Moon dismissed criticism that the South's military overreacted.

He said the country's front-line troops strictly followed the manual by first dispatching a warning via loudspeakers and then continuing to fire warning shots amid bad weather conditions that made it difficult for them to immediately identify what the objects were.

"The military was reacting in consideration of the worst-case scenario," he said. (Yonhap)

Lee Sung-won  edt@koreapost.com

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