South Korea vowed to “punish” any potential North Korean military action ahead of a United Nations vote on tougher sanctions against the totalitarian state for last month’s nuclear test.
North Korea is conducting land, air and sea maneuvers, and may be preparing to carry out a missile test, Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min Seok told reporters today. South Korea is also in the middle of military exercises with the U.S. that are scheduled to last until the end of April.
“North Korea’s current military drills can lead to provocation at any time,” Kim said at a briefing in Seoul. “South Korea’s military is preparing so that we can respond and punish them for any provocative acts.”
Kim Jong Un’s regime is facing tighter international financial sanctions following its February nuclear detonation. The totalitarian country on March 5 threatened to scrap the 1953 cease-fire that ended the Korean War hours after China and the U.S. agreed on a UN Security Council resolution to punish North Korea. A vote could come as early as today.
“It is most likely to be an unanimous ‘yes’ for a crackdown on North Korea” by the Security Council, said Cho Bong Hyun, a Seoul-based research fellow at the IBK Economic Research Institute. “North Korea’s big brother, China, already signaled that the North should behave and be punished more.”
“Tensions will rise on the peninsula but further provocation is unlikely given that China is cornering them,” he added.
The expanded UN measures target “illicit” actions by the North Korean diplomats and bulk transfers of cash, restrictions aimed at halting the import of technology needed for the development of nuclear weapons. The sanctions also restrict the North’s ability to raise cash by selling military technology.