The South Korean military warned of a stern response to a third attempt by North Korea to launch a military reconnaissance satellite amid growing speculation that it may be imminent.
Kang Ho-pil, chief director of operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS), said on Monday that the North is pushing to launch the satellite despite repeated warnings from the South and the U.S. as well as the international community.
Urging Pyongyang to immediately halt related preparations, the JCS official said the satellite launch would be a clear violation of a UN Security Council resolution that bans all missile firings by the regime using ballistic missile technology.
Also calling such an attempt a provocation that poses a threat to national security, Kang stressed that the military would pursue necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of the South Korean people upon the launch.
The phrase "necessary measures" appears to allude to the partial suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement aimed at diffusing cross-border tensions.
The National Security Office convened a session of the National Security Council's standing committee on Monday to assess a possible satellite launch and response steps.
Appearing on a KBS program on Sunday, defense minister Shin Won-sik said Pyongyang is highly likely to attempt to launch the satellite in late November, to which Seoul will respond with a partial suspension of the 2018 deal.