Pyongyang Threatens Commercial Aircraft Safety For Years


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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North Korea is jamming Global Position Systems (GPS) in South Korea since 2010, affecting more than 2,100 aircraft, reports Yonhap News Agency.

2,143 planes have reported disruptions caused by Pyongyang’s jamming activities in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2016, a South Korean lawmaker announced Tuesday, citing a report by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport.

The jamming signals are traced back to five locations in North Korea, specifically Haeju, Yonan, Pyongyang, Kumgang, and Kaesong.

The report noted that while the signals were fairly weak in the past, they have become much stronger.

North Korean jamming impacted 14 planes in 2010, 106 in 2011, 1,016 in 2012, and 1,007 so far in 2016. The frequency of incidents has steadily increased over the years. The average was 4.6 planes per day in 2010, but now, an average of 167.8 planes per day experience problems.

Pyongyang is believed to be using systems from Russia, reports the BBC.

The GPS jamming activities do not only impact aircraft. Around 130 South Korean coast guard and fishing vessels were forced to return to port in April after their GPS navigation systems were hit.

Pyongyang’s activities also affect mobile phones.

As planes and ships are typically equipped with back-up systems, no disasters or casualties have been reported.

North Korea reportedly called the accusations that it was involved in any illicit jamming activities “sheer fabrication.”

Tensions between North and South Korea are running especially high. North Korea conducted two nuclear tests and multiple ballistic missile tests this year, and South Korea is stepping up its defense capabilities, joining with the U.S. and other partners to put pressure on North Korea in response.

South Korea is reportedly working on technology to trace North Korean jamming activities back to their sources and block the incoming signals.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry refers to the attacks as “acts of provocation” against the South.

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