During a dinner meeting over the weekend, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol expressed his concerns to American Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin about the possibility of a “Hamas-style surprise attack” from North Korea. President Yoon urged for unity in the military defenses of both South Korea and the United States to protect their citizens from such an assault. In recent diplomatic efforts, President Yoon’s conservative government has been seeking increased defensive support from President Joe Biden, who previously showed little interest in Korean peninsula policy. However, after President Yoon threatened to pursue nuclear weapons development, the Biden administration agreed to deploy American nuclear submarines to South Korea and involve Seoul more in American military operations in the country.
South Korean officials have indicated their belief that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un maintains a relationship with Hamas, a Sunni jihadist terrorist organization focused on the destruction of Israel and the genocide of Jewish people. They further stated that South Korea is preparing for the threat of North Korean troops utilizing Hamas-style tactics, including the indiscriminate mass killing of civilians in residential areas and extreme acts of torture, rape, and murder against even infants.
Hamas recently committed a series of horrific attacks against Israeli civilians, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, including many infants who were found mutilated, decapitated, or subjected to extreme torture. In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are conducting an operation in Gaza to neutralize future threats.
An unnamed official from South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff previously stated that “Hamas is believed to be directly or indirectly linked to North Korea in various areas, such as the weapons trade, tactical guidance, and training.” There is a growing concern that North Korea could adopt Hamas’ attack strategies for a surprise invasion of South Korea.
President Yoon reiterated these concerns during a meeting with Secretary of Defense Austin and American Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. He emphasized that even if North Korea miscalculates and carries out any provocation, including a Hamas-style attack, South Korea and the United States will maintain a strong combined defense posture to swiftly punish North Korea.
President Yoon also highlighted the direct or indirect connections between North Korea and both the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and Hamas. He plans to continue addressing this issue during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in San Francisco, California.
President Yoon stressed that the increased cooperation between Russia and North Korea poses a serious threat not only to the security of the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and Europe, but also to the universal rules-based international order. He pointed out that if North Korea successfully launches a military reconnaissance satellite, it would demonstrate a higher level of intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities.
The Russian government, which has welcomed Hamas terrorists and supported their interests at the United Nations, has strengthened its ties with North Korea over the past year. Kim Jong-un made his longest-known international trip since the pandemic began to visit Russia in September. During the visit, he invited Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to witness a large parade in Pyongyang and tour an exhibition of missiles and weapons, possibly indicating potential purchases for use in Ukraine.
President Yoon’s concerns about North Korea, with support from Russia and inspiration from Hamas, arose as the military leaders of the countries in the U.N. Command gathered in Seoul to discuss their mission. In a joint statement, the U.N. Command representatives condemned North Korea’s continual nuclear threats and pledged unity in the event of any hostilities or armed attacks challenging the U.N. principles and the security of South Korea.
North Korea, on the other hand, once again called for the complete dissolution of the U.N. Command.