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North Korean Satellite Launch Escalates Tensions with South Korea

While most of the world’s attention has been turned towards Gaza, tensions have been escalating on the Korean Peninsula. The latest round of this began last week, on Nov. 21, when North Korea launched what it said was a spy satellite. Both Seoul and Washington denounced the launch as a violation of UNSC resolutions which deny North Korea a space program on the grounds that it’s really a cover for missile development.

Seoul also partially suspended its participation in the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement with Pyongyang that was meant to ease frontline military confrontations, including by scaling back surveillance along the DMZ, as well as the removal of some mines and guard posts. In response to the satellite launch, South Korea said it would partially suspend the CMA and resume aerial surveillance along the DMZ, reported The Associated Press. South Korea said its response was “a minimum defensive measure,” because the launch showed the North’s intentions to strengthen its monitoring of the South and improve its missile technology.

North Korea immediately slammed South Korea’s decision, saying it would deploy powerful weapons at the border in a tit-for-tat measure. So far, the tit-for-tat measure observed by the South was the North’s reconstruction of some of the guard posts that were removed in 2018.

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