South Korea issues warning to North Korea over planned spy satellite launch
South Korea’s military put North Korea on notice, cautioning against pursuing its intended spy satellite launch. The warning, issued on Monday, hinted that Seoul might suspend a pact aimed at easing hostilities and restart front-line aerial monitoring as a countermeasure.
North Korea previously failed in two attempts to place a military spy satellite in orbit during the year and didn’t follow through with a promised third attempt in October. South Korean officials suggested that the delay may be due to North Korea’s acquisition of Russian technology and anticipated a launch in the near future.
In defiance of failure, a senior South Korean military officer, Kang Hopil, stated, “Our military will come up with necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of the people if North Korea pushes ahead with a military spy satellite launch despite our warning,” during a televised address.
Defense Minister Shin Wonsik corroborated the expected launch in an interview with public broadcaster KBS, anticipating the roll-out later in the month, with South Korean and U.S. authorities monitoring the situation. The U.N. Security Council prohibits satellite launches by North Korea, focusing on the covert testing of missile technology.
Foreign governments and experts have raised concerns about North Korea’s collaboration with Russia to improve its military capabilities. Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s keen interest in rocket technology, indicating a path toward future cooperation.
With a purported breakthrough in the management of a technical issue, North Korea seems ready to launch its spy satellite before South Korea’s launch planned later in November. Kang may retaliate with a resumption of aerial surveillance activities and live-fire drills at border areas due to repeated treaty violations by North Korea.
The termination of the 2018 military agreement could lend North Korea grounds for new provocations, as the strained relations between the two countries continue to escalate amidst North Korea’s focus on expanding its nuclear capabilities.