South Korea’s deployment of F-35 stealth fighters has irked North Korea, with Pyongyang alleging the development as a breach of the inter-Korean military agreement that could lead to “catastrophic outcomes.”
In an article published by North Korea’s Uriminzokkiri, the state-run website said it was a betrayal for South Korea to deploy the two F-35A jets, which arrived at a key air base of the South’s Air Force on March 29. The jets, along with 38 more were a part of a 7.4 trillion won ($6.8 billion) deal signed in 2014 between Washington and Seoul.
The two jets are expected to be completely combat deployed in April or May. Close to ten more fighters will be delivered to Seoul this year, with the remaining jets to be delivered by the end of 2021.
“This is a hostile act that raises military tension on the Korean Peninsula, and it is an apparent defiance to the people’s longing and our efforts to maintain peace,” the statement titled “What the introduction of high-tech weapons show” read.
Pyongyang also claimed Seoul was breaching the Military Comprehensive Agreement signed on September 19, 2018, though the agreement does not ban the South from purchasing weapons, Korean Herald reported Monday.
North and South Korea agreed during the April 27, 2018 summit held at the truce village of Panmunjom, to halt "all hostile acts" against each other and eliminate the "danger of war".
While the joint pact was committed measures reducing military tensions, such as establishing ground, maritime and air buffer zones around the border, it does not specifically prevent them from holding joint military exercises with other countries nor purchasing military weapons, the report stated further.
“As we held the hands of the South Korean government to open a new era, we have made clear that the joint military exercises (with the United States) and introduction of military arms from outside should completely be stopped, as it is the source of tension on the Peninsula,” the Uriminzokkiri statement read.