PPP calls for suspending 2018 military tension reduction deal with N. Korea

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) called Friday for suspending a 2018 military tension reduction agreement with North Korea, claiming it weakens South Korea's surveillance capabilities and puts the country at risk of a Hamas-like attack.

Rep. Yun Jae-ok, the PPP's floor leader, made the remark a day after Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Kim Seung-kyum said during a parliamentary audit that South Korea's surveillance of the North is restricted due to no-fly zones set along the heavily fortified border under the deal.

"Hamas succeeded in its surprise attack due to Israel's surveillance and reconnaissance gaps," Yun said during a party meeting. "There can hardly be any disagreement on the point that we should no longer leave the security vacuum and diplomatic restrictions caused by the Sept. 19 military agreement as they are."

"Security concerns have escalated to a very dangerous level and we cannot help but consider suspending the Sept. 19 agreement in order to increase the safety and flexibility of our strategic response," he said.

Though it is up to the government to decide whether to keep the agreement, the National Assembly should render support for the government's decision because it is a matter greatly affecting the country's security and diplomacy, he said.

The 2018 inter-Korean military agreement, also known as the September 19 agreement, calls for the setting up of buffer zones along land and maritime borders and creating no-fly zones to reduce military tension between the two Koreas.

Newly appointed Defense Minister Shin Won-sik has called strongly for scrapping or suspending the deal, arguing that it greatly undermines South Korea's security and that the North has repeatedly violated the agreement.

The Democratic Party, however, has argued the agreement helps maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, saying that a suspension is a dangerous act that could provoke North Korea to launch more threats against Seoul.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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