North Korea-South Korea Tension and Security Conjuncture

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Last year was recorded as the year when North Korea reached the highest threat level in the international arena. As a matter of fact, in 2022, Pyongyang has increased its nuclear power more than ever before and has conducted dozens of short and long range intercontinental ballistic missile tests. Moreover, it passed the law that declared itself as a nuclear power and caused security concerns both in the Asia-Pacific region and at the global level to reach the highest level

These developments forced the Western Alliance led by the United States of America (USA) to take many precautions and take moves to deter North Korea. In this respect, some exercises were held in cooperation with the USA, South Korea and Japan on the region, many harsh statements were made and Pyongyang was repeatedly condemned.

All these developments, on the other hand, did not yield any results other than provoking North Korea more. In short, the policies of the West have been ineffective. In addition, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) tried to take sanctions against North Korea’s nuclear activities. These resolutions, however, faced vetoes from China and Russia. In short, the Western-based South Korea-Japan alliance established under the leadership of the USA has failed.

Based on the aforementioned events, it can be determined that the threat posed by North Korea will not decrease in the near future, and will even increase this year. For example, on December 16, 2022, the Official News Agency of the State of North Korea (KCNA) stated that the country is in the process of developing a new strategic weapon, that the weapon in question is a “high-thrust solid fuel” engine, and that this engine is under the supervision of Kim Jong Un and operated by North Korea. reportedly tested at the Sohae Satellite Launch Site. It is stated that Pyongyang will accelerate its nuclear missile programs on the occasion of this test. [1]

On December 18, 2022, the South Korean General Staff said that two medium-range ballistic missiles fired from the Tongchang-ri region of North Korea were detected. In the statement, it was stated that the missiles were fired in a high orbit and flew approximately 500 kilometers (km). In addition, it was emphasized that South Korean and American intelligence were following these developments closely.[2] Then, on December 19, 2022, KCNA said that North Korea aimed to develop a “spy satellite” and that an important test was carried out by evaluating the process in question. [3]

As can be understood, Pyongyang is increasing the quantity and quality of missile tests. Moreover, the country is designing new devices such as “spy satellite” and “high thrust solid fuel engine”. Due to both the geographical conditions and the geostrategic conjuncture, some states feel the danger posed by North Korea much more closely. That’s why South Korea has gone to new searches at the point of North Korea, which it could not deter through alliances and exercises.

As a matter of fact, Seoul asked Beijing to increase its efforts to denuclearize Pyongyang and return it to negotiations, and said that North Korea’s return to dialogue would be an important development in terms of “common interests”. The request was made during an online meeting between South Korean Foreign Minister Park Jin and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. [4] At this point, it is quite remarkable that South Korea, which is in a Western-based alliance in the region, makes demands from China instead of the USA and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In addition, in a statement to the media, South Korea’s Defense Procurement Program Administration (DAPA) Minister Eom Dong-hwan said that they have developed domestic warfare weapons, defense and surveillance systems against North Korean threats. Also Eom; The domestic triaxial defense system, consisting of the Kill Chain preemptive attack mechanism, the Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and the Korea Major Punishment and Retaliation systems (KMPR), quickly became important.[5] This again shows that South Korea aims to “provide its own national security”. At the same time, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol asked the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to assist in denuclearization of North Korea and expressed his concerns about Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs.[6]

As can be expected, South Korea is one of the countries that are disturbed by Pyongyang’s actions. As a result, to prevent this threat, Seoul both forms an alliance with Washington and Tokyo in the region, seeks help from China and the IAEA and tries to increase its own military capacity.

[1] “North Korea Says It Tested “High-Thrust Solid-Fuel Motor”, Al Jazeera,, (Erişim Tarihi: 11.08.2023).

[2] “North Korea Fires 2 Ballistic Missiles: Seoul’s Military”, Channel News Asia,, (Erişim Tarihi: 11.08.2023).

[3] “North Korea Confirms “Important” Spy Satellite Test for April Launch”, Channel News Asia,şim Tarihi: 11.08.2023).

[4] “S. Korea Asks for China’s Support to Engage N. Korea”, Asia News Network,, (Erişim Tarihi: 11.08.2023).

[5] “South Korea to Develop Homegrown Combat Weapons Against North Korean Threat”, Asia News Network,, (Erişim Tarihi: 11.08.2023).

[6] “S. Korea President Yoon Asks IAEA to Help Denuclearize N. Korea”, NHK,, (Erişim Tarihi: 11.08.2023).

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten, 2021 yılında Yalova Üniversitesi İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü’nden “Amerikan Dış Politikası” başlıklı bitirme teziyle ve 2023 yılında da Anadolu Üniversitesi Açık Öğretim Fakültesi Dış Ticaret bölümünden mezun olmuştur. Halihazırda Marmara Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Uluslararası İlişkiler Anabilim Dalı’nda Tezli Yüksek Lisans öğrenimine devam eden Gülten, lisans eğitimi esnasında Erasmus+ programı çerçevesinde Lodz Üniversitesi Uluslararası ve Politik Çalışmalar Fakültesi’nde bir dönem boyunca öğrenci olarak bulunmuştur. ANKASAM’da Asya-Pasifik Araştırma Asistanı olarak çalışan Gülten’in başlıca ilgi alanları; Amerikan Dış Politikası, Asya-Pasifik ve Uluslararası Hukuk’tur. Gülten, iyi derecede İngilizce bilmektedir.