North Korea denied on Friday that it played any part in a two and a half week long jamming of Global Positioning System (GPS) signals in the border area between North and South Korea.
The denial was carried in several state media outlets and said allegations that the DPRK was behind the jamming were part of “a new farce and smear campaign.”
The jamming took place between April 28 and May 14 and resulted in several hundred civilian aircraft and ships experiencing disruption to their navigation systems, according to reports. It made GPS signals unavailable or unreliable but didn’t result in any serious accidents. South Korean media quoted government sources as saying the jamming signals were coming from the North Korean city of Kaesong.
The North Korean denial was made by an unnamed spokesman for the DPRK’s Ministry of Post and Telecommunications in an interview to the Korean Central News Agency.
At first, the group was so stupid as to assert radio signals seemed to come from the north but later denied itself the story, saying this was not scientifically confirmed for fear of something.
Then the group said in the end it was clear those signals came from Kaesong. Recently it spread misinformation that the north used a vehicle-shape means for jamming the GPS imported from Russia and stopped the jamming operation under the influence of China which was allegedly urged by Lee to tell the north to halt it. — KCNA May 18, 2012.
Here’s the denial as broadcast on the English-language Voice of Korea broadcast from Friday (sorry for the poor audio quality)[audio:https://www.northkoreatech.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/120518-vok.mp3|titles=Voice of Korea, 18 May 2012]
Alongside denial of the jamming, the announcement was used as another chance to assert the DPRK’s innocence in the sinking of the South Korean ship the Cheonan just over two years ago. The Cheonan was sunk on 26 March, 2010, with the loss of 46 men. An international investigation pinned the sinking on a North Korean torpedo hit, but the DPRK has denied any part in the incident, which took place near the sea border between the two countries.
A recent hacking incident that paralyzed the computer network of South Korea’s Nonghyup Bank was also denied in the KCNA article. The North Korean government had also previously denied involvement in that incident.
The denial of the GPS jamming came at a time during which the North Korean media is using particularly harsh words against South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and his ministers, so the strong worded conclusion follows that line:
The story about the north’s jamming spread by the group of traitors is nothing but a desperate effort to shirk off even a bit the heavy responsibility for its thrice-cursed high treason.
The group is making its last ditch-efforts to escape punishment for its crimes but it should know that it is too late.
What remains to be done by the group is to make apology to the whole nation and the world and commit suicide. — KCNA, May 18, 2012.
At least two other GPS jamming incidents have taken place in the same area in the last two years.
The first was in August 2010 and the second in March 2011. Both disrupted GPS navigation services in the border area north of Seoul.
A report to the South Korean parliament later in 2011 said the DPRK had imported “about 20 communications and radar jamming devices from the old Soviet Union.” Such units mounted on vehicles had been deployed near the border and disrupted GPS signals within a range of between 50- and 100 kilometers, the report said, according to a Yonhap at the time.