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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

S Korea’s intelligence believes N Korea to carry out mew ‘military provocations’ in 2024

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Seoul: The South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) said Thursday that there is a high possibility that Pyongyang could carry out new “military provocations” in early 2024 ahead of the presidential election in the United States and South Korea’s parliamentary elections.

“There is a high possibility that North Korea could unexpectedly conduct military provocations or stage a cyberattack (on the South) in 2024, when fluid political situations are expected with the elections,” South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted the NIS release as saying.

The assessment comes against the background of North Korea reinstating key figures involved in high-profile provocations against Seoul, as well as based on North Korea’s track record of staging provocations before general elections in South Korea, the NIS said.

In April 2016, Pyongyang carried out a series of provocations, including the fourth nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range missile in February, the report said. In 2020, North Korea fired four short-range ballistic missiles in March alone, several weeks before the parliamentary election in South Korea in April, the agency reported.

Former North Korean spy chief Kim Yong Chol was named as an adviser to the United Front Department in charge of inter-Korean affairs in June, who is believed to have masterminded Pyongyang’s sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan and the shelling of the western South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong in 2010, the report said. North Korean authorities also named Ri Yong Gil as the chief of the General Staff of the North Korean military and Pak Jong Chon as the head of the ruling party’s military department in August, the report said.

Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Pyongyang would respond with a nuclear strike to any nuclear “provocations.” On Wednesday, Kim instructed North Korea’s military to accelerate “war preparations” to counter “extreme confrontation moves” of the United States and its allies in the Korean Peninsula.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered the armed forces on Thursday to “immediately” respond to enemy attacks by retaliating first and only then reporting to “smash the enemy’s desire for provocations

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