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'Sep 19 military agreement may be suspended,' says Yoon

Posted January. 05, 2023 07:59,   

Updated January. 05, 2023 07:59


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol instructed on Wednesday to consider suspending the September 19 military agreement if North Korea commits another territorial invasion. He warned that the September 19 military agreement between the two Koreas would be suspended four years and three months after its signing in 2018 during the Moon Jae-in administration if a provocation similar to the North’s invasion of South Korean airspace with drones in December last year occurs again. The president also ordered more efforts to develop and produce stealth drones by the end of the year and establish a drone killer system to take down drones quickly. It is interpreted as President Yoon’s response to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as he announced South Korea as a clear enemy and vowed a 'power to power' military for the new year.

The presidential office revealed President Yoon’s instructions as above to the Office of National Security, which were made during a closed meeting on Wednesday morning. “The president ordered overpowering response capabilities for the Korean Army, which exceed the proportional level of North Korea’s provocations, during the meeting,” President Yoon’s spokesperson Kim Eun-hye said. “Abnormal days, in which the violation of the September 19 military agreement has been normalized, have continued,” said a senior member of the presidential office. “The suspension of the agreement is the president’s decision to protect people’s lives and safety as the chief of state and the commander-in-chief.”

“The September 19 military agreement may be suspended if the North conducts the seventh nuclear test,” a senior government member said during an interview with the Dong-A Ilbo, indicating that the criteria for suspending the military agreement are not limited to territorial invasion.

The South Korean military announced a plan on Wednesday to quickly set up the joint drone command. A member of the Ministry of National Defense said that it is believed that stealth drones can be developed before the end of this year.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com · Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com