President Yoon Suk-yeol issued an order to the country’s spy head to take into account suspending an inter-Korean military pact agreed in 2018 to ease military tensions if North Korea continues to engage in provocations. A combined drone unit that can mass-produce small, covert drones was also ordered by the commander in chief, according to the presidential office on Wednesday.
According to Kim Eun-hye, Yoon’s public relations head, the National Security Office, Defense Ministry, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Agency for Defense Development briefed him on the response plan to North Korea’s drones.
Following a five-hour-long North Korean drone swarm over Seoul and the surrounding area on December 26, Seoul has been pushing for a stronger defense barrier. Seoul was unable to take down any of the five drones, so they all retreated to North Korea.
Under the condition of anonymity, a senior official in the presidential office stated, “The review of the suspension of the Sept. 19 military agreement is based on the decision of the head of the government and the commander in chief of the nation’s armed forces.”
“We hope that North Korea won’t provoke in the future to stop this from happening.”
The Sept. 19 military agreement, which was signed by the defense ministers of the two Koreas in Pyongyang in 2018 to put into effect measures like a total cessation of hostilities, is regarded as a major success for the North Korean strategy of the previous Moon Jae-in government.
According to the military agreement, the two Koreas established “buffer zones” on land, in the air, and at sea surrounding the border regions to prohibit any live-fire artillery drills and field training exercises at different levels within 5 kilometers of the Military Demarcation Line. To stop planes from flying too close to the boundary, No Fly Zones were established.
However, the North continued to flout the deal last year by firing artillery into the buffer zones and launching ballistic missiles into the East and West oceans.
The presidential office reported that North Korea has specifically broken the military pact 17 times in total, 15 of those incidents occurring since October of last year.
Another source from the office, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that if the North Korea continues its provocations, the government may consider utilizing the asymmetric tactic of broadcasting propaganda over loudspeakers along the border with North Korea.
Yoon instructed Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup to develop a strategy to counteract drone provocations during the meeting on Wednesday. According to Kim, such a strategy entails the establishment of a joint drone unit to carry out multipurpose tasks including surveillance, reconnaissance, and electronic warfare.
The president emphasized the need for developing a killer drone system when he gave Lee the order to design a system to mass-produce stealth drones within a year.
The senior source at the presidential administration claimed that “a drone unit has not yet received any effective training.”
“At this time, it is a unit capable of carrying out a variety of activities beyond specific missions, including electronic warfare and psychological warfare.”
The senior official responded to the uproar that followed US President Joe Biden’s denial that he had discussed joint nuclear exercises with South Korea, saying that “South Korea and the US agreed regarding information sharing, joint planning, and joint execution between the two countries at the security consultative meeting in November last year.”
The official added that the two nations closely examined how they could help Korea, which does not have nuclear weapons of its own, contribute to “significant extended deterrence beyond the nuclear umbrella.”
Image Source: france24.com
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