N.Korea 'Lost Several Fighter Jets Last Year'

      February 18, 2011 11:31

      Several North Korean fighter jets crashed in intensive drills late last year staged in response to joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises, a senior South Korean government official said Thursday.

      "We suffered a fighter jet crash too, but it seems that the North suffered a lot more," the official told reporters on the customary condition of anonymity during a visit to Japan.

      "They apparently suffered several crashes during a series of drills to counter our exercises even though they lacked fuel and practice." He did not say how many of the North's old jets crashed. One crash was already reported in December.

      "There seems to be a slim chance of the North launching further military provocations for the time being, because it's well aware that it would pay the price if it attacked again."

      Washington and Seoul have repeatedly warned the North against further provocations like the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year.

      But whether the North will conduct a third nuclear test "is a different story," he said. "Nobody can rule it out because the North's nuclear strategy targets the U.S.," not South Korea.

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