A senior South Korean military official has called on North Korea to immediately stop preparations for a satellite launch. Lt. Gen. Kang Hopil, the chief director of operations for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that a test of a military reconnaissance satellite would be seen as a provocative act that undermines national security. He warned that if North Korea proceeds with the launch, necessary measures will be taken to ensure the safety of South Korean citizens.
This warning comes following Defense Minister Shin Won-sik’s statement that intelligence suggests North Korea is preparing for a satellite launch by the end of the month. Although neither Shin nor Kang provided specific details on the actions South Korea would take in response, Shin mentioned the possibility of partially suspending the inter-Korean accord, a comprehensive military agreement signed in 2018.
Shin argued that North Korea has a history of violating accords and that the 2018 agreement restricts the capabilities of South Korea’s advanced forces. He emphasized the need for strong power to counter North Korea’s provocations.
So far this year, North Korea has attempted two satellite launches, both of which were unsuccessful. The regime claims to have conducted a total of six satellite launches since 1998, two of which were successful. The United States, South Korea, and Japan suspect that these launches serve as cover for weapons tests and are connected to North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile program.
In response, South Korea plans to launch its first indigenous reconnaissance satellite on November 30 using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This move aims to enhance South Korea’s national defense capabilities.