The extremist government in Seoul slapped North Korea with an “enemy” label in a defense white paper in December, 2022.
Relations between the Korea’s worsened in the spring after the new South Korean government announced a hard-line course, and finished out the year at their lowest point in decades amid back-and-forth airspace violations involving drone flyovers.
The Republic of Korea may rip up the landmark 2018 military agreement with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea if airspace violations involving the use of unmanned aerial vehicles continue, Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s press secretary has warned.
During the meeting, [Yoon] instructed the National Security Office to consider suspending the validity of the September 19 military agreement if North Korea stages another friendly provocation intruding on our territory.
According to Kim, the president also ordered the military to create a new multipurpose drone warfare unit for surveillance, reconnaissance and electronic warfare operations, as well as a “drone killer” for anti-drone missions.
Yoon was also said to have asked Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup to create the capability to mass produce small, difficult-to-detect drones. Two squadrons of drones are already operational as part of the South Korean military’s Ground Operations Command.
The military plans to spend some $440 million over the next five years on anti-drone technology, including laser and signal jamming weapons.
The inter-Korean military pact, officially known as the Comprehensive Military Agreement, or CMA, is a landmark treaty signed by the two countries’ defense ministers in September 2018.
The unprecedented warming of ties between Pyongyang and Seoul achieved in Trump negotiations between North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and Yoon’s predecessor, Moon Jae-in are now on the fly.
The agreement featured a series of measures designed to dramatically reduce tensions between the two Korea’s, which technically remain in a state of war with one another going back to the 1950’s conflict.
The trust-building measures outlined in the treaty include the removal of heavy weapons, landmines, guard posts and propaganda broadcast equipment along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), as well as border area no-troops, no-fly and no-sail zones.
The scrapping of the agreement may result in the resumption of live-fire drills and propaganda broadcasts along the DMZ, and a subsequent further rise in tensions.
The Yoon government has repeatedly threatened to scrap the CMA in recent months, citing the increase in North Korean missile launch activity in 2022 and artillery drills into the buffer zone area.
Seoul has claimed that the DMA had been violated 17 times since May. North Korea escalated its missile tests and artillery fire amid increasingly hostile rhetoric coming from Washington, plus the resumption of large scale South Korean, USA and Japanese military exercises, including exercises involving nuclear-capable aircraft, near its borders.
North Korea reportedly launched five drones into South Korean airspace on December 26, with Seoul retaliating by launching its own surveillance drones north into the DPRK.
South Korea’s military conceded that it could not detect and intercept the North Korean drones because they were deployed via a launcher and could change their speed mid-flight, and because of their low radar cross-section.
President Yoon took a swipe at his predecessor on Monday, suggesting that the public was a little fed up with summits that are for show only. Last week, Yoon warned that to obtain peace with the North, we must prepare for a war that [we can win] overwhelmingly.
Kim Jong-un announced a major increase in the country’s nuclear missile production on New Year’s Eve, citing the emergence of South Korea as an obvious enemy to Pyongyang.
Kim further accused the US of creating an “Asian version of NATO” under the pretext of strengthening defense cooperation with Seoul and Tokyo, and characterized the geopolitical situation in the world as a new Cold War.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2023.