Pyongyang on Sunday again denied its involvement in, and called for a joint probe into, the deployment of small drones found crashed near the inter-Korean border, which Seoul has said were sent from North Korea.
The denial came three days after Seoul's defense ministry said the three crude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were sent from North Korea, based on an analysis of the drones' global positioning system data. A team of experts from South Korea and the United States found that the drones' departure and intended returning points were in North Korea, the military said.
One UAV was discovered in Paju, north of Seoul, on March 24, and another was found on a western border island a week later. The third drone was found in a mountain near the east coast on April 6.
North Korea, however, has categorically denied its involvement in the drone incursions from the early stages of the South Korea-led probe.
"They force us to believe in the faked drones," an unnamed spokesman for the inspection group of the North's powerful National Defense Commission said in a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "It is better to believe in invisible ghost," read the English-language statement.
The North accused the Park Geun-hye administration of using what it called the fabricated drones to find a way out of the crisis caused by last month's deadly ferry sinking.
Seoul also aims to "please its U.S. master by kicking up a fresh racket of confrontation" with Pyongyang, the statement said.
"The South Korean authorities should accept without any complaint the proposal made by the DPRK (North Korea) to carry out a joint investigation into the 'drone case'" before spreading false rumors about Pyongyang, it said, referring to North Korea by its official name of Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
South Korea's defense ministry quickly dismissed the North's claim.
"We express serious regret over the North's behavior that continues to evade its responsbility while rejecting the outcome of our investigation that has clearly showed that North Korea is behind the recent incursions by small UAVs," it said in a released statement.
The ministry also rejected the North's call for a fresh, joint investigation, calling it absurd.
"The North's demand for a joint investigation with our side is just as absurd as a criminal demanding to investigate his/her own crime and does not even deserve any serious consideration," it said.
On April 14, the same North Korean organization demanded a joint probe, accusing Seoul of fabricating the drone case. South Korea had again rejected the demand. (Yonhap)