Anchor: In the wake of a forecast that North Korea could push ahead with a third attempt to launch a military reconnaissance satellite by the month's end, the South Korean military warned of a stern response, including a partial suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean military deal.
Choi You Sun reports.
Report: The South Korean military has warned of a stern response to a third attempt by North Korea to launch a military reconnaissance satellite amid growing speculation that such an effort may be imminent.
Kang Ho-pil, chief director of operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff(JCS), said in a briefing 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.
[Sound bite: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chief Director of Operations Kang Ho-pil (Korean/English)]
"Despite repeated warnings from the South Korea-U.S. alliance and the international community, North Korea is planning to go ahead with the military spy satellite launch. The launch would be a clear violation of the UN Security Council resolution that bans the North from launching missiles using ballistic missile technology and a provocation that threatens our national security."
Urging Pyongyang to immediately halt related preparations, the JCS official stressed that the military would pursue necessary measures to protect the lives and safety of the South Korean people upon the launch.
With the phrase "necessary measures," Kang appeared to allude to a partial suspension of the 2018 inter-Korean military agreement aimed at diffusing cross-border tensions.
Appearing on a KBS program on Sunday, defense minister Shin Won-sik forecast Pyongyang to launch the satellite as early as this week, before Seoul launches its first reconnaissance satellite on the U.S.’ Falcon 9 two-stage rocket from California's Vandenberg Space Force Base on November 30.
[Sound bite: Defense Minister Shin Won-sik (Korean/English)]
"In early November, we had assessed that North Korea may launch the satellite around the end of the month. That assessment still stands and although I cannot get into the specifics, Seoul and Washington believe that preparations are under way for the launch to take place in about a week."
The minister said the North is believed to have almost resolved its engine problems with help from Russia.
Shin, who has repeatedly called for a suspension of the 2018 military deal, said that another attempt by Pyongyang to launch the satellite will prompt Seoul to swiftly begin discussions among relevant ministries to suspend the agreement.
Choi You Sun, KBS World Radio News.