North Korea Cancels Military Deal, Deploys New Weapons at Border

North Korea has declared its intention to bolster its armed forces and introduce new weaponry along its border with South Korea, following a move by Seoul to suspend parts of the 2018 military accord between the two Koreas. This announcement has heightened concerns about escalating tensions in the region.

The North Korean defense ministry conveyed its decision through a statement reported by the KCNA news agency.

The statement mentioned that North Korea would reinstate all military measures that were previously halted under the 2018 agreement with South Korea, which was originally designed to reduce tension along their shared border.

The statement declared, “From now on, our army will never be bound by the September 19 North-South Military Agreement,” and emphasized that North Korea would withdraw the military steps taken to prevent tension and conflict across various domains, including ground, sea, and air. 

Additionally, North Korea plans to deploy more potent armed forces and new military hardware along the Military Demarcation Line.

This announcement comes after North Korea’s third satellite launch attempt this year, following two previous failures. 

The launch coincided with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s visit to Russia, during which President Vladimir Putin pledged assistance to Pyongyang in building satellites. 

South Korean officials suspect Russian technical support in the latest satellite launch, pointing to an increasingly close partnership between the two countries, which has also seen North Korea supply Russia with artillery shells.

While Russia and North Korea have denied engaging in arms deals, they have promised deeper cooperation.

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South Korea Suspends Pact with North After Satellite Launch

North Korea has declared its intention to bolster its armed forces and introduce new weaponry along its border with South Korea, following a move by Seoul to suspend parts of the 2018 military accord between the two Koreas.

In response to North Korea’s satellite launch, South Korea suspended part of the Comprehensive Military Agreement (CMA), which led to increased surveillance along the heavily fortified border.

North Korea accused South Korea of scrapping the CMA and warned that Seoul would be “wholly accountable” in case of an irretrievable clash between the two Koreas. 

North Korea’s statement followed its ballistic missile launch towards the sea off its east coast, although South Korea’s military reported that the launch appeared to have failed.

The US Department of State expressed support for South Korea’s decision to suspend part of the CMA, characterizing it as a “prudent and restrained response” due to North Korea’s failure to adhere to the agreement. 

The move will restore surveillance and reconnaissance activities along the South Korean side of the Military Demarcation Line, enhancing South Korea’s ability to monitor North Korean threats.

The suspended North-South pact was signed during a 2018 summit between Kim Jong Un and former South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Critics argued that the agreement weakened South Korea’s monitoring capabilities and accused North Korea of violating the terms.

While the CMA aimed to reduce the risk of clashes and inadvertent escalation, it faced criticism for curtailing allied surveillance and military training without effectively reducing the North Korean military threat, according to Bruce Klingner, a former CIA analyst with the US-based Heritage Foundation. Washington had reportedly privately urged Seoul to maintain the CMA.

North Korea’s recent claim of placing its first spy satellite into orbit drew international condemnation for violating UN resolutions prohibiting the use of technology applicable to ballistic missile programs. 

South Korea has indicated that the satellite is believed to be in orbit, but further assessments of its functionality are required.

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