North Korea deploys new weapons on DMZ.
North Korea announced on Thursday its intention to deploy new military equipment along the military demarcation line separating it from South Korea. This decision comes in response to Seoul’s partial withdrawal from a 2018 agreement aimed at reducing tensions along the border, as reported by state-run media.
Seoul’s move to enhance intelligence and surveillance along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) follows North Korea’s launch of its first spy satellite on Tuesday. Analysts speculate that the satellite could provide valuable information for targeting adversaries’ forces.
This action by Seoul signifies a partial retreat from the Inter-Korean Military Agreement, signed in 2018 by then-South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The agreement, part of joint efforts with the US to mitigate the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula, aimed to widen the buffer zone between the two Koreas. However, goodwill generated by the agreement has dissipated over the years.
Kim, dissatisfied with the lack of concessions from the US and South Korea in subsequent talks, escalated North Korea’s ballistic missile program, expressing the intent to develop a nuclear deterrent comparable to that of Washington. In response to North Korea’s military buildup, the US, South Korea, and Japan have increased their military cooperation through exercises and deployments, perceived as a threat by Pyongyang.
Earlier in the week, North Korea criticized the US for potential sales of advanced missiles to Japan and military equipment to South Korea, labelling it a “dangerous act.” North Korea asserted that the offensive military equipment would inevitably be directed against them.
The North Korean Defence Ministry, on Thursday, declared that it would not be bound by the military agreement, pledging to deploy more potent armed forces and new military hardware along the Military Demarcation Line. The ministry claimed that South Korea’s intentional and provocative actions reduced the agreement to a mere “scrap of paper” and warned of severe consequences for its irresponsible provocations.
Pyongyang held South Korea “wholly accountable” for any clashes that might occur between the two Koreas. The situation along the military demarcation line, described as the world’s most acute military confrontation zone, was deemed irreversibly uncontrollable due to what North Korea termed as serious mistakes by the political and military authorities of the Republic of Korea (ROK).