South Korea has issued a warning to North Korea, urging them to cancel their planned spy satellite launch. Seoul stated that if the launch proceeds as planned, it could lead to the suspension of an inter-Korean peace deal. South Korea also threatened to resume frontline aerial surveillance as a retaliatory measure.
North Korea had previously attempted to launch a military spy satellite twice this year but failed both times. They had vowed to make a third attempt in October but did not follow through. South Korean officials suggest that the delay may be due to North Korea receiving assistance from Russia and that a launch could happen within days.
South Korean Defence Minister, Shin Wonsik, stated in an interview that the launch is expected to take place later this month. Both South Korean and US authorities are closely monitoring North Korea’s actions. Senior military officer Kang Hopil urged North Korea to cancel the launch, warning that necessary measures would be taken to protect the lives and safety of the people if they proceed despite the warning.
The United Nations Security Council has banned any satellite launches by North Korea, considering them as disguised tests of their missile technology. Kang suggested that the launch is not only aimed at improving monitoring capabilities but also to bolster their long-range missile program.
In response to the potential launch, South Korea hinted at the suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean military agreements. These agreements require both Koreas to halt aerial surveillance activities and live-firing drills along their tense border. Kang expressed concerns about the North’s repeated violations of the agreement, stating that it has caused problems in the military’s readiness.
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 the war in Ukraine. Both North Korea and Russia have dismissed these allegations. However, the two nations have openly expressed their desire to expand bilateral cooperation amidst their own separate security tensions with the United States.