After Hamas attacked Israel last weekend, in East Asia, far from the Middle East, concern began to spread about whether South Korea was really prepared for a similar missile attack by North Korea. It was the South Korean Defense Minister himself, Shin Won-sik, recently appointed, who wanted to take office for the first time by igniting security hysteria by ensuring that the threat from Pyongyang’s well-armed army is much greater than what the Palestinian fundamentalist group represents for Israel. A war breaks out more than 8,000 kilometers away and, in a country accustomed to living with the threat of explosive rockets from its neighbor, a minister begins to make comparisons between the strategies of Hamas and Kim Jong-un.
“Hamas has attacked Israel and the Republic of Korea (South Korea’s official name) is under a much stronger threat,” Shin said this week. “If Israel had flown planes and drones to maintain continuous monitoring, I think perhaps they would not have been attacked in that way. To counter that threat, we must observe North Korea’s military movements with our surveillance means,” he continued.
Shin’s plea had a larger background: since Seoul has to strengthen surveillance on the border with the North, the first thing to do is suspend a military agreement that both countries signed in 2018 to create buffer zones along land and maritime borders, as well as no-fly zones that seek to avoid confrontations. A measure that helped stop incidents between both countries. “This agreement prevents South Korea from fully using its air surveillance resources at a time when nuclear threats from North Korea are increasing,” the South Korean minister said.
Las tensions on the Korean Peninsula They are at their highest point in years. Since 2022, the North Korean regime, taking advantage of the distraction with the war in Ukraine and the growing division in the UN Security Council, has accelerated its arms race with record launches of ballistic missiles into the sea. Meanwhile, Seoul has also strengthened its military alliance with the United States and Japan, forming a powerful defense tripartite that often carries out joint military exercises in the Pacific.
On Thursday, it arrived at the South Korean port of Busan the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which will participate next week in training together with warships from Seoul and Tokyo. For the first time since 1991, South Korea agreed earlier this year with Washington to open its doors to nuclear-armed US submarines. This did not please the northern neighbors. As usual, they threatened a nuclear attack.