Tensions rose Monday on the Korean peninsula, with Pyongyang releasing video of a major military exercise and Seoul accusing its northern neighbor of using a planned satellite launch as a pretext for testing a nuclear weapon delivery system.
The North Korean video shows leader Kim Jong Un meeting soldiers and watching what is described as a joint strike drill of the North's army, navy and air force. It shows a warship being blown up at sea, soldiers firing missiles and an airplane exploding in mid-air.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met with his foreign minister and top security advisors Monday to discuss Pyongyang's move. A presidential spokesman described the planned launch as a “grave provocation,” saying the North is not fooling anyone.
“Our government defines North Korea's so-called working satellite launch plan as a grave provocation to develop a long-distance delivery means for nuclear weapons by using ballistic missile technology. South Korea will work closely together with the United States, Japan, China, Russia and the European Union during next week's Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to deal with the issue.”
He said the real purpose of the launch is to develop a long-range delivery system for nuclear weapons.
The spokesman also said South Korea will work with the international community and discuss the matter with the leaders of related countries, including the United States, Japan, China, Russia and the European Union during next week's Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul.
The U.S., Russia, South Korea and Japan have condemned the planned launch, saying it violates a U.N. ban on all North Korean launches using ballistic missile technology.
Even Pyongyang's long-time ally, China, has expressed rare disapproval. Beijing said it is concerned about the launch's potential to disrupt regional peace and security.
However, North Korea has rejected international pressure not to proceed with the launch and says it has a legitimate right, as a sovereign country, to put into orbit scientific satellites.