“AWe strongly advise North Korea (…) to immediately suspend ongoing preparations for the launch of a military spy satellite,” said the director of operations of the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“If North Korea launches a military reconnaissance satellite despite our warning, our army will take necessary measures to guarantee the lives and safety of the people,” Kang Hopil added.
The leader hinted that the measures could include the suspension of military agreements signed by the two countries in 2018, which suspended aerial surveillance activities and live-fire exercises along the border.
Kang accused Pyongyang of having violated the agreement numerous times, giving as examples the destruction of an abandoned inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea, sending drones to the South and carrying out firing exercises along the maritime border.
“Despite repeated violations of the agreement by the North, our military has patiently respected the clauses of the military agreement, but this has caused considerable problems in the readiness of our military,” the leader said.
The military agreement, reached during a brief rapprochement between then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, created buffer zones along land and sea borders and no-fly zones. to avoid accidental clashes.
After a second failed attempt in August, Pyongyang announced it would launch a third spy satellite in October, but this did not happen.
South Korean officials said the delay was likely because North Korea is receiving technological assistance from Russia.
In early November, Seoul’s military intelligence said North Korea was in the final stages of preparations for the third attempt.
South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said on Sunday that the launch could take place as early as this week.
A delegation from Russia led by Natural Resources Minister Alexander Kozlov visited North Korea last week to discuss “cooperation in the fields of trade, economics, science and technology”, reported the official North Korean news agency, the KCNA.
According to South Korea, the North provided Russia with more than a million artillery rounds for the war in Ukraine, receiving technical advice for the satellites in return.
In early November, the group of the world’s seven most industrialized countries (G7) condemned the country’s arms transfers to Russia, calling on both sides to “immediately cease all such activities.”
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