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In Response to North Korean Provocations: South Korea Announces Resumption of Live-Fire Training

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For the first time in nearly six years following the 9/19 agreement, the Marine Corps is set to conduct maritime live-fire training.

A K-9 self-propelled artillery is mobilized as part of a maritime firing training exercise on November 29, 2016, marking the sixth anniversary of the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong. / Provided by the Marine Corps Command

According to a report by Chosun Ilbo on the 5th, the President of South Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol, ratified the complete suspension of the 9/19 inter-Korean Military Agreement, which was decided at the State Council meeting on the 4th.

As a result, as of 3 pm that day, the effect of the 9/19 agreement was invalid, enabling our military to immediately respond to North Korean provocations such as loudspeaker broadcasts in North Korea and military training in the vicinity of the military demarcation line.

Multiple government officials have revealed that the Marine Corps stationed in the northwestern islands will conduct maritime live-fire training with K-9 self-propelled artillery around the 20th.

This is the first time in five years and nine months since the 9/19 agreement was signed in September 2018. The Marine Corps has been moving K-9 self-propelled guns stationed on Yeonpyeong Island and Baengnyeong Island hundreds of kilometers for land-based firing training because the 9/19 Comprehensive Military Agreement prohibits artillery training in the West Sea buffer zone.

Although the Marine Corps has responded to North Korea’s provocation of firing 200 coastal artillery rounds into the buffer zone in January, it has not been able to conduct regular live-fire training.

A South Korean Marine Corps official said, “We used to conduct live-fire training at least once a month before the 9/19 agreement,” and told the media that “the suspension of the agreement is leading to normalization of the abnormal.”

According to the plan, each military branch will conduct regular firing and maneuvering training near the military demarcation line.

A South Korean K-9 self-propelled artillery was conducting maritime live-fire training on the afternoon of January 5 when North Korea carried out a coastal artillery provocation in the northwestern islands area. / Provided by the Ministry of National Defense

A South Korean government official said regarding psychological warfare against North Korea, such as loudspeaker broadcasts, “There are no restrictions, and we are ready to resume at any time.”

A Ministry of National Defense official said, “The 9/19 Military Agreement is an unequal treaty that shackles our military while relying on North Korea’s goodwill,” and added, “We cannot maintain peace by trusting on goodwill.”

In response to some claims that the complete suspension of the 9/19 Military Agreement will exacerbate the security crisis, the official explained, “Even after the 9·19 Military Agreement, North Korea has provoked in the way it wants when it wants to” and “The reason we did not abolish the 9/19 Comprehensive Military Agreement and only suspended its effect is to leave room for restoring trust between South Korea and North Korea.”

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