North warns that physical clash in Korea just 'a matter of time'

정주희 2023. 12. 3. 17:11
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North Korea threatened to go to war with South Korea in its latest statement following the suspension of a landmark military agreement between the two Koreas...
Joint Chiefs of Staff Commander Kim Myung-soo, center, visits an eastern border area in the DMZ on Thursday. [YONHAP]

North Korea threatened to go to war with South Korea in its latest statement following the suspension of a landmark military agreement between the two Koreas.

“The physical crash and war on the Korean Peninsula have become a matter of time, not possibility,” the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Sunday, quoting a military commentator.

The statement largely pinned the blame for suspending the 2018 military agreement between the two Koreas on the Yoon Suk Yeol government in Seoul.

South Korea announced the partial suspension of the agreement, concluded in 2018 to reduce tensions along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas, last month after the North launched a spy satellite into space in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Pyongyang subsequently announced it was scrapping the agreement altogether, and its soldiers were last seen building makeshift watch towers and carrying large firearms into the demilitarized zone, according to the Defense Ministry in Seoul.

South Korea's Defense Ministry said it would respond to the North’s actions with “corresponding measures,” hinting that should the North rebuild the guard posts, the South would as well.

Kim Myung-soo, chairman of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), visited on Saturday air defense posts of the western border regions, which protect the airspace of the greater Seoul area.

Inspecting the operation status of South Korea’s defenses against the North’s unmanned aerial vehicles, Kim reportedly urged soldiers to “recognize the severity of the current situation where the threat of enemy drone provocations is higher than ever,” according to the JCS.

In light of the suspension of the inter-Korean military agreement, Kim asked the air force to maintain a defensive position “at all times” so they can “immediately punish the enemy” in the event of aerial provocation, adding that commanders on the ground will have leeway to respond without reporting to their superiors.

Kim also visited guard posts near the border through the night, urging soldiers on site to “overwhelm enemy forces” should they engage in provocations.

Security tensions between the two Koreas have worsened in recent years.

Since the collapse of the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi in 2019, Pyongyang has responded to calls for dialogue from both Seoul and Washington with a steady stream of military provocations.

North Korea fired 90 missiles last year, including several intercontinental ballistic missiles, breaking its own record of approximately 25 missiles in 2017. The regime also launched a spy satellite into space on Nov. 21.

The KCNA said on Sunday that North Korea's reconnaissance satellite operation office has begun its mission and would report photos and other information to the military. The regime claims the satellite has taken photos of the White House and the Pentagon, but no photos have been released to back up their claims.

Some UN Security Council members, including the United States, have since strongly condemned the launch. However, the council could not produce a sanctions resolution due to continued opposition by Russia and China since the pair vetoed a U.S.-drafted resolution against the North in May last year.


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