South Korea’s military warned North Korea to halt its planned spy satellite launch Monday.
South Korea suggested it could suspend an agreement to reduce tensions and resume its front-line aerial surveillance, The Associated Press reported.
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North Korea failed its first two attempts to put a spy satellite in space and vowed to conduct a third attempt in October. But South Korean officials said there was a delay and now warn a launch could happen soon.
“Our military will come up with necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of the people, if North Korea pushes ahead with a military spy satellite launch despite our warning,” a senior South Korean military officer, Kang Hopil, said in a televised statement.
The U.N. Security Council has banned North Korea from launching satellites because it views them as a disguised test of its missile technology. Kang said North Korea is launching the satellite to improve its monitoring of South Korea and to advance its long-range missile program.
According to the AP, South Korean Defense Minister Shin Wonsik said in an interview that a launch was expected later this month.
South Korean officials said the launch’s delay was likely because North Korea is receiving technology assistance from Russia.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in September for talks on a deal to increase transfers of weapons and technology, as Russia looks for allies in its war against Ukraine. North Korea is reportedly seeking Russian technologies and expertise to boost its nuclear and other military capabilities.
Kang said a satellite launch would effectively break the inter-Korean agreement, and accused North Korea of previously breaking the deal — which created buffer and no-fly zones along the border between North Korea and South Korea.
“Despite the North’s repeated violations of the agreement, our military has been patiently abiding by clauses in the military agreement, but that has caused considerable problems in our military’s readiness,” Kang said.
The Associated Press contributed.