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Korean Peninsula Risk and Advisory 03/24


Here is a brief review of developments on the Korean Peninsula with outline trajectory, risks and impact ahead.


Diplomacy


Korea and Australia held a “two-plus-two” meeting of their foreign and defense ministers in Melbourne on May 02, exchanging views on each country's Indo-Pacific strategies, defense-related issues and the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the region at large.

 The two sides also touched upon the possibility of Korea becoming a partner of the Aukus alliance between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States in Pillar II.  Pillar II, is centered around developing and sharing advanced capabilities across a broad swath of area including hypersonics, anti-submarine warfare and cyberweapons, as well as quantum computing and artificial intelligence.


Military


US Air Force (USAF) MQ-9 Reaper participated in a training exercise on the Korean peninsula on 19 April 2024 the system fired an inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided munition at a ground-based simulated target at South Korea’s Pilsung Range. Besides the Reaper’s participation, US Marines flew F-35 Lightning II fighters and interoperated with their Korean allies, which also operate the fighter aircraft. 


North Korea on April 27 reiterated its commitment to launching more reconnaissance satellites this year after putting its first spy satellite into orbit in November.


Pyongyang "will carry out an important mission to enhance its space reconnaissance capabilities as planned to monitor and control the U.S. and other hostile forces' military movements and aggressive attempts," an unnamed spokesperson of the North's National Aerospace Technology Administration (NATA) said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).


South Korea has accused North Korea of laying mines along a road in the demilitarised zone, between the two countries.


Risks and Impact


Increase in hostility between North and South Korea isevident each day as the two have already shed the military agreement of 2018 and North Korea is seen laying mines in the DMZ thus indicating no intention of rolling back of confidence building measures.


Both sides can be expected to undertake military escalatory measures as well North Korea launching missiles and artillery while South Korea and the United States in joint exercises indicating that these are essentially move for deterrence.


Any miscuing during such exercises could be seen as escalatory triggers which need to be watched out for.

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