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Korean Peninsula Risks Advisory 


North Korea Submarine Representative Picture

18  APRIL 2024


High Impact Event

 

Overwhelming electoral success of South Korea's liberal opposition party Democratic Party places President Yoon Suk Yeol in a challenging position for the three remaining years of his term as the ruling party will remain in a minority in the National Assembly.

 

Political Development

 

South Korea's liberal opposition party won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections. The main opposition Democratic Party, which already holds majority control, won 175 seats in the 300-member single-chamber parliament of South Korea. The ruling conservative People Power Party took home 108 seats reducing the present numbers. President Yoon said that he will "humbly accept the will of the people" and reform his administration, according to his chief of staff, Lee Kwan-seop.

 

Diplomacy

 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China's top legislator Zhao Leji met on April 13 in Pyongyang, and vowed to deepen bilateral ties amid heightened tensions in the Korean Peninsula. Kim said Pyongyang is willing to "deepen traditional friendship and write a new chapter" in ties. He observed that bilateral ties are "constantly developing to a new and higher stage in accordance with the requirements of the new era," adding that it is North Korea's "unswerving policy" to further deepen their ties.

 

Military

 

The US naval forces held a joint exercise with navies of South Korea and Japan to deter North Korea. The two-day training exercise involving a US aircraft carrier and destroyers from took place on April 11 and 12 in international waters south of the Korean peninsula. United States and South Korea are conducting largest, annual aerial training to “deter, defend and defeat” enemies in and around the Korean Peninsula, according to an US Air Force news release. The 15-day exercise is dubbed Korea Flying Training, which kicked off on April 12 focusing on integrating fifth-generation aircraft, including the F-35 Lightning II, with other U.S. and South Korean jets during the drill. Scenarios include combat search and rescue, precision strikes, airborne operations and defending against aerial and ground-based threats.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said unstable geopolitical situations surrounding his country is an opportune time to be prepared for war than ever. The Statement was made as he inspected the country's main military university Kim Jong Il University of Military and Politics, named after his father who died in 2011, the "highest seat of military education" in the country.


U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin voiced concerns over North Korea's recent provocations during video talks with his Chinese counterpart, the first conversation between the two countries' defense chiefs in about 17 months, the Pentagon said.

 

Risks and Impact

 

Tensions are expected to continue the Korean Peninsula given North Korean leader Kim Jong un’s call to exploit the geopolitical divide.  Despite the drubbing that has been received by the ruling People Power Party, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol is expected to continue a conservative hard line governance style remaining uncompromising internally as well as with North Korea.


This may increase the level of tensions with the North Korean regime expected to continue testing of advance missiles and long range weapons such as multiple rocket launch systems blaming United States and South Korea of provoking military tensions by conducting what it calls "war maneuvers."

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