North Korea’s attempts to launch a military spy satellite into orbit earlier this year were unsuccessful, and they did not follow through on their plans for a third attempt in October. South Korean officials believe that the delay may be due to North Korea’s collaboration with Russian technology experts, and they anticipate that a launch could occur in the coming days.
According to Defence Minister Shin Wonsik, South Korean and US authorities are closely monitoring North Korea’s actions, and a launch is expected to take place later this month. However, senior military officer Kang Hopil has urged North Korea to cancel their launch attempt. He warned that if North Korea proceeds with the launch despite the warning, the South Korean military will take necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of its people.
The United Nations Security Council has imposed a ban on satellite launches by North Korea, as they consider them to be disguised missile technology tests. Kang stated that North Korea not only seeks to improve its monitoring capabilities of South Korea with the spy satellite but also aims to strengthen its long-range missile program.
In response to North Korea’s actions, South Korea may consider suspending the 2018 inter-Korean military agreements that require both countries to cease aerial surveillance activities and live-firing drills along their tense border. This necessary action is due to North Korea’s repeated violations of the agreement, which has caused significant readiness problems for the South Korean military.
The military deal, established during a brief reconciliation period between South Korea’s former President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, created buffer zones along land and sea boundaries and established no-fly zones above the border to avoid accidental clashes.
South Korea has accused North Korea of receiving Russian assistance to enhance its nuclear and other military capabilities in exchange for supplying conventional arms to support Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Ukraine. Both Moscow and Pyongyang have denied the allegations, but as both nations face ongoing security tensions with the United States, they have openly expressed their intent to expand bilateral cooperation.