South Korea has issued a warning to North Korea, urging them not to proceed with their planned spy satellite launch. They have stated that if North Korea goes ahead with the launch, Seoul may suspend an inter-Korean peace deal and resume frontline aerial surveillance as a form of retaliation.
North Korea has previously made two unsuccessful attempts to put a military spy satellite into orbit earlier this year. Despite pledging to make a third attempt in October, they did not follow through. South Korean officials believe that the delay in the launch is due to Russian technological assistance, and that the launch could occur in the coming days.
According to South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik, the launch is expected to take place later this month. South Korean and US authorities are closely monitoring North Korea’s movements.
Senior military officer Kang Hopil has called on North Korea to cancel the launch attempt. He has warned that if North Korea proceeds with the launch, the South Korean military will take necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of the people.
The United Nations Security Council has banned satellite launches by North Korea, as they view them as disguised tests of missile technology. Kang has suggested that a response to the launch could include a suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean military agreements, which require both Koreas to halt aerial surveillance activities and live-firing drills along their tense border.
The military deal, reached during a brief period of improved relations between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, established buffer zones and no-fly zones along the border to prevent accidental clashes.
South Korea has accused North Korea of receiving Russian technologies to enhance their military capabilities, in exchange for supplying conventional arms to support Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied these allegations, but have expressed a desire to expand bilateral cooperation.