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Korean Peninsula tensions rise

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Tensions continue to rise between North and South Korea, with both sides firing off very ominous statements within the last week.

Last Friday saw South Korea’s Defence Minister Suh Wook stated that Seoul has missile capabilities which can “accurately and swiftly strike any targets in North Korea.” These comments come as a direct response to North Korea’s ICBM test launch’s in the last month. Since the last ICBM test launch, South Korea has responded by touting its military capabilities, test firing missiles and showcasing F-35 jets in training exercises. Suh also noted the South Korea can carry out precision strikes on the “origin of any attack and its command and support facilities.” He also explained that the South is further developing missile-defence systems “that the North does not possess.”

Over the weekend, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-Jong has warned of increased tensions with the south stating that Friday’s comments have “further worsened the inter-Korean relations and military tension on the Korean Peninsula.” She also stated that South Korea “may face a serious threat” as the North contemplates a response to Suh’s statement. Kim Yo-Jong went on to call Suh a senseless “scum-like guy” and a “confrontation maniac.”

North Korea’s Secretary of the Central Committee, Pak Jong-Chon, accused Suh of effectively threatening a “preemptive strike.” He stated that Suh must be crazy or silly to speak of a preemptive attack on the nuclear weapons state” and if an attack occurred, “our army will mercilessly direct all its military force into destroying major targets in Seoul and the South Korean Army.”

As President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol takes office in the next month, tensions may increase even further between the two states. He has specified previously that he believes preemptive strikes may be necessary to counteract the North’s hypersonic missiles if it appears they are being prepared for an attack. Yoon has also called to strengthen ties with the U.S., seeking to develop a three-way dialogue between the U.S., North Korea and South Korea.

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