South Korea has issued a strong warning against North Korea’s planned launch of a military spy satellite, threatening to implement retaliatory measures. The military did not specify the exact measures, but analysts believe that the partial suspension of the inter-Korean military pact signed in 2018 is likely.
The launch, which would be North Korea’s third attempt this year, is anticipated to take place as early as this week. Lt. Gen. Kang Ho-pil, chief director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), stated that the North Korean regime must face unanimous condemnation from the international community and urged them to cease preparations for the launch immediately.
Should North Korea proceed with the launch despite the warning, South Korea’s military will take necessary measures to protect its people. This announcement by the JCS is unusual, as South Korea typically condemns North Korea’s military provocations after they happen rather than issuing advance warnings. The warning can be seen as a preliminary step towards nullifying the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement.
The agreement, signed by the previous Moon Jae-in government, has been criticized by the current administration for restricting South Korea’s reconnaissance capabilities near the border. Lt. Gen. Kang Ho-pil mentioned that North Korea has violated the agreement over 3,400 times so far, demonstrating their disregard for compliance.
The specific measures to be taken by South Korea have not been confirmed, as they require a review by relevant government agencies. While some experts believe that the warning indicates the intention to suspend the military pact following the satellite launch, caution is advised to prevent increased military tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The decision to end the agreement could raise concerns in the international community.
It is important for South Korea to carefully consider the consequences of suspending the military agreement, as there may be no way to reverse the decision once it is made. The United States also opposes the idea of suspending the agreement, as it seeks to avoid further tensions in the region. Close consultation between South Korea and the United States is ongoing regarding the possible suspension of the agreement.