South Korea defence paper calls North ‘enemy’

  • South Korea released its latest defence white paper on 16 Feb, describing North Korea as its “enemy” for the first time in six years and reporting an increase in Pyongyang’s stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium.
  • The 2022 paper revived the description of the North Korean regime and military as “our enemy,” last used in its 2016 edition, citing Pyongyang’s ongoing weapons development, cyber and military provocations and its recent portrayal of the South as an “enemy.”
  • To beef up its nuclear stockpile, North Korea has continued reprocessing spent fuel from its reactor and possesses about 70kg (154lb) of weapons-grade plutonium, up from 50kg estimated in the previous report, it said.
  • The North has also secured “substantial” amounts of highly enriched uranium” and “significant level of capability” to miniaturise atomic bombs though six nuclear tests, a description that remains unchanged since 2018.
  • The paper said the North violated a 2018 inter-Korean military pact banning hostilities 15 times in 2022 alone, including its drone intrusion in December, artillery fire inside a military buffer zone and missiles launched across the de facto maritime border into the South in Nov 22.

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