Pyongyang vows to restore all military measures halted under 2018 inter-Korean accord

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North Korea on Thursday said it will immediately restore all military measures halted under a 2018 inter-Korean military accord after Seoul suspended part of the tension reduction deal following Pyongyang’s launch of a military spy satellite. The North’s Defence Ministry said it will “never be bound” by the military agreement any more, effectively scrapping the deal that calls for a series of tension reduction measures along the heavily armed border, and warned that the South must “pay dearly” for its decision, reports Yonhap News Agency.

“We will immediately restore all military measures that have been halted according to the North-South military agreement,” the Ministry said in a statement carried by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). “We will withdraw the military steps, taken to prevent military tension and conflict in all spheres including ground, sea and air, and deploy more powerful armed forces and new-type military hardware in the region along the Military Demarcation Line,” it said. South Korea must “pay dearly for their irresponsible and grave political and military provocations that have pushed the present situation to an uncontrollable phase”, the North added.

South Korea partially suspended the 2018 inter-Korean military accord, after North Korea launched a military spy satellite, called the Malligyong-1, on a new type of Chollima-1 rocket Tuesday night. The move allowed Seoul to immediately restore reconnaissance and surveillance operations near the border with North Korea. The agreement, signed September 19, 2018, under the previous liberal administration of President Moon Jae-in, calls for setting up buffer zones and no-fly zones near the inter-Korean border in a bid to prevent accidental clashes between the two Koreas.

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North Korea had violated the accord 17 times until end-2022, and 15 violations occurred last year alone, including five North Korean drones’ infiltration into the South in December, according to Seoul’s defense ministry. South Korea’s Unification Ministry denounced the North Korean defense ministry’s statement as a “far-fetched” claim, and “strongly” condemned Pyongyang’s threat to deploy new weapons along the border.