Seoul, Nov 20 (EFE).- The South Korean army on Monday demanded North Korea “immediately stop” preparations to put a spy satellite into orbit and warned that “necessary measures” will be taken by Seoul if Pyongyang does not cancel the operation.
“(We) sternly warn North Korea to immediately stop the military reconnaissance satellite launch, of which preparations are under way,” said the chief director of operations at the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kang Ho-pil, at a press conference this Monday.
Kang’s words come a day after South Korean Defense Minister Shin Won-sik said that North Korea appears to be in the final phase of preparations to launch the rocket with a satellite on board, an operation that he expected could take place “within a week or so.”
“If North Korea goes ahead with the military reconnaissance satellite launch despite our warning, our military will come up with necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of our people,” Kang warned, without offering further details.
Several military representatives have been warning for weeks that Seoul could partially suspend the military agreement it signed with North Korea in 2018 to reduce tension in border areas if Pyongyang goes ahead with its launch.
In that sense, Kang insisted Monday that the North has repeatedly violated that agreement and that the pact itself reduces South Korean surveillance capabilities around the divide.
Pyongyang tried to put its first spy satellite into orbit in May and August, but both attempts failed due to problems with the Chollima-1 space rocket, and the regime announced that it would try again in October, although it has not met that deadline, possibly due to Moscow’s assistance.
It is believed that the summit held in September between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin served to cement an agreement to cooperate and trade in the military and aerospace field.
Seoul and Washington believe that North Korea has recently made deliveries of artillery rounds to Russia for use in Ukraine and that Pyongyang may be receiving technological support and advice for this new launch in return.
The sanctions imposed on the regime by the United Nations Security Council – of which Russia is a permanent member – prohibit these exchanges and also the launch of space rockets by Pyongyang, considering that it is the covert use of technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles. EFE