Seoul declares maritime buffer zone with North ineffective

Seoul declares maritime buffer zone with North ineffective
# 08 January 2024 12:17 (UTC +04:00)

South Korea has officially declared that the maritime buffer zone with North Korea no longer exists, setting a precondition for Seoul and Washington to conduct reconnaissance operations near the border in response to Pyongyang’s ongoing military provocations, APA reports citing Radio Free Asia.

“North Korea has breached the September 19th military agreement over 3,000 times and has conducted artillery fire in the West Sea [Yellow Sea] over the last three days. As a result, the zone designated for the cessation of hostile actions effectively, no longer exists,” South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Monday.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul, JCS spokesperson Lee Seong-Joon said that the ongoing provocations have essentially rendered the inter-Korean agreement inactive.

In 2018, the two Koreas agreed to halt what the other has defined as hostile actions toward one another near the border, including the maritime border, the Northern Limit Line (NLL), but the North has conducted a number of provocations since then, violating the terms of the agreement.

In November, North Korea formally declared an immediate and complete withdrawal from the military agreement, pledging to deploy its latest weaponry along the border with South Korea. The move came as Seoul suspended a part of the agreement following the North’s satellite launch that violated the United Nations Security Council resolution.

With North Korea’s latest provocation in the maritime border, which has effectively nullified the inter-Korean agreement, South Korea, in collaboration with the United States, may resume immediate reconnaissance and surveillance activities near the border, as indicated by South Korea’s Prime Minister Han Duck-soo in November.

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