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ICAO help sought over N.K. jamming

South Korea’s foreign minister met with the head of the U.N. aviation safety agency to ask for continuing help in stopping North Korea from sending jamming GPS signals across their heavily fortified border, officials said Thursday. 
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan meets Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin of the International Civil Aviation Organization at his office Thursday. (Yonhap News)
Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan meets Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin of the International Civil Aviation Organization at his office Thursday. (Yonhap News)

South Korea has been accusing the North of deliberately sending signals here to interfere with the regular Seoul-Washington joint military drills the communist state claims to be an act of war.

Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan met with Secretary-General Raymond Benjamin of International Civil Aviation Organization in his office Thursday and asked for further support on the issue, the Foreign Ministry said in a press release.

“Minister Kim thanked the ICAO chief for sending an official letter to North Korea earlier this month asking the country to stop its illegal action,” the release said.

The ICAO sent an official letter to Pyongyang this month after South Korea expressed concerns over the North’s sending of jamming GPS signals.

Benjamin answered that his agency would continue cooperating with Seoul to stop such actions which not only threaten South Korea, but also raise concerns over the safety of other nations’ private aviation, according to the ministry press release. The ICAO chief, who was visiting Seoul to attend events related to his agency, was scheduled to depart later in the day.

The ICAO, a U.N. agency established in 1947, has some 190 states as members including South and North Korea, which joined in 1952 and 1977, respectively. The Montreal-based institute has quasi-judicial powers over member states to make recommendations regarding aviation matters.

After detecting errors in its military equipment and GPS-based mobile phones, the South Korean government attempted to deliver to Pyongyang a letter of complaint over the issue, which the North refused to accept.

In a televised discussion forum Thursday, Seoul’s Defense Minster Kim Kwan-jin said the military was currently working on switching to more secure GPS channels to prevent any problems.

Such jamming GPS signals, however, “do not have a great effect” on military equipment, he said.

By Shin Hae-in (hayney@heraldcorp.com)
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