The president of South Korea is warning officials in the United States of the possibility of a “Hamas-style” attack from North Korea.
In a meeting on Sunday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol told United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that both the U.S. and South Korea face the possibility of a brutal attack from North Korea similar to what Israel experienced on October 7 at the hands of Hamas terrorists, Fox News reported.
The South Korean president called for “a vigilant South Korea-US combined defense posture capable of promptly and decisively retaliating against any provocations from North Korea, including surprise attacks resembling Hamas-style tactics due to its miscalculation,” according to Yoon’s spokesman, Lee Do-woon.
Yoon issued the warning during a dinner with Austin and U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr.
To help thwart a potential attack, South Korean officials are discussing suspending a 2018 inter-Korean military agreement made by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and former liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the Associated Press noted. The agreement in question created no-fly and buffer zones along various land and sea borders. Suspending it would allow the South to increase surveillance capabilities on the North. Secretary Austin reportedly said he would work with South Korean National Defense Minister Shin Won-sik on the possibility of suspending the agreement.
During Austin’s visit to Seoul for annual security talks, Yoon also expressed his belief that North Korea has been involved “directly and indirectly” in the conflict in Israel and the war between Russia and Ukraine, according to the AP.
Previously, South Korean officials have said that Hamas may have used North Korean-made munitions – including rocket-propelled grenades – during its massacre of Israelis last month. According to the AP, Kim is potentially considering selling weapons to other terror groups in the Middle East.
Earlier this month, South Korean officials said that the North had sent Russia rifles, rocket launchers, short-range ballistic missiles, and anti-tank missiles for its war against Ukraine. The news came on the heels of a visit Kim Kong-un made to Russia in September, where the two discussed topics including Ukraine, space technology, and the potential for military cooperation.
On Sunday, Austin told Yoon of President Joe Biden’s hopes to continue strengthening the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea, and on Monday, the two countries updated a security agreement to better respond to nuclear and missile threats from North Korea, according to the AP. Also agreed upon during the security talks was a plan between South Korea, the U.S., and Japan to improve real-time information-sharing on missile threats.
“Around the world, as you see our troops deployed and working together, it is impressive,” Austin said ceremony during his visit. “The United States military is the most powerful military in the world, and we absolutely take pride in our relationship with our Korean counterparts.”