Conflicts & War

South Korea partially suspends 2018 military pact with North after satellite launch

Seoul, Nov 22 (EFE).- The South Korean government on Wednesday approved the partial suspension of the military agreement it signed in 2018 with North Korea in response to the launch of a rocket carrying a satellite by Pyongyang the previous day.

In an extraordinary cabinet meeting held in Seoul and chaired by Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, a motion was approved to suspend the clause that limits the reconnaissance surveillance activities of the South Korean military along the militarized border with the North included in the agreement that both countries signed in September 2018.

The South Korean presidential office announced that the motion had already become effective, with President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is on a state visit to the United Kingdom, signing it shortly after it approval by the cabinet.

During the meeting, Han said that the launch violated United Nations sanctions, which prohibit Pyongyang from using ballistic missile technology.

He added that North Korea was clearly demonstrating its unwillingness to comply with the military agreement and had ignored continuous warnings from the South and the international community.

For several weeks, South Korea military and government officials had indicated that Seoul could partially suspend the agreement if Pyongyang went ahead with the launch, arguing that the regime had repeatedly violated the pact, which limited Seoul’s capabilities to keep an eye on its neighbor.

Earlier in the day, North Korea announced that it had successfully placed the Malligyong-1 military spy satellite into orbit although neither Seoul nor Washington have yet confirmed the success of the operation.

The military agreement, signed in Pyongyang in September 2018 during the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then South Korean President Moon Jae-in, was an important step towards reducing military tension around the border between the two countries, which are technically still at war.

However, after the failure of denuclearization negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington in 2019, tensions in the region have gradually escalated to new historic heights.

Pyongyang approved a weapons modernization plan in 2021 and since then, it has carried out many missile tests, in addition to rejecting the resumption of dialogue and seeking closer ties with Beijing and Moscow.

Meanwhile, Seoul and Washington have strengthened military cooperation with Tokyo as well as their deterrence mechanism by the repeated deployment of US strategic assets, such as aircraft carriers and bombers, to the Korean peninsula. EFE

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