International News

South Korea to Suspend Military Deal with North Korea Amid Rising Tensions

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s government has approved the suspension of a controversial military agreement with North Korea, paving the way for more assertive responses to North Korean provocations.

Key Developments:

  • Suspension Approval: South Korea’s Cabinet Council passed a proposal on Tuesday to suspend the 2018 inter-Korean agreement aimed at reducing frontline military tensions. This proposal will take effect upon President Yoon Suk Yeol’s signature, expected later Tuesday.
  • Rising Animosities: The decision comes amid heightened tensions between the two Koreas, triggered by North Korea’s recent launch of balloons carrying trash over the border. This action was a reaction to South Korean civilian leafleting campaigns.
  • Government Justification: Prime Minister Han Duck-soo stated that the 2018 agreement has compromised South Korea’s military readiness amidst ongoing North Korean provocations. These include the balloon campaign, tests of nuclear-capable weapons, and alleged jamming of GPS signals in South Korea.


The military agreement, established during a brief period of reconciliation, required both nations to cease hostile acts along their border, including live firing drills, aerial exercises, and psychological warfare. Critics, especially conservatives in South Korea, argued that reducing conventional military strength left South Korea vulnerable, as North Korea’s nuclear capabilities remained unaffected.

Recent Incidents:

In the past week, North Korea launched balloons filled with manure, cigarette butts, scraps of cloth, and waste paper into South Korea, prompting vows of severe retaliation from Seoul. North Korea announced on Sunday that it would cease its balloon campaign.

Potential Actions:

The suspension of the 2018 deal may allow South Korea to resume frontline military drills and other unspecified measures. Observers speculate that South Korea might restart propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts, a psychological tactic used during the Cold War that has previously had significant impact in North Korea, where the population is largely denied access to foreign news.

Current Status:

The 2018 military agreement has been in a state of limbo, with both Koreas breaching its terms amid tensions over North Korea’s spy satellite launch last November. The suspension of the deal now formalizes South Korea’s shift towards a more defensive stance in light of North Korea’s continuous provocations.

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