South Korea aims for space warfare exercises with US
South Korea wants help from the United States as it tries to develop its nascent space-defense program, Defense Ministry officials said Wednesday.
The nation’s space plans aren’t targeting a particular country or threat, ministry officials told Stars and Stripes. However, North Korea’s continuing research on long-range ballistic missiles represents a threat that theoretically could be defeated using space-based technology.
Seoul will be “building up the foundation to carry out space warfare by creating and conducting a high-level U.S.-South Korea defense space development [tabletop exercise] regularly,” according to a recent Defense Ministry statement.
The Defense Ministry and the Pentagon will also share information on space development, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
South Korea established its first Space Operations Center in July, when it also announced plans to build a national space surveillance system by 2030. Last week, defense officials said the new space center successfully tracked a falling Russian satellite, with assistance from the U.S. Strategic Command.
The pact with South Korea follows similar actions taken between the U.S. and Japan to bolster cooperation earlier this year. In April, Tokyo and Washington revised 1997 bilateral defense guidelines to include a section on space, calling for the nations to “share information to address emerging threats against space systems.”
In January, Japan also rolled out a 10-year space-security program outline that authorized additional satellites and the development of a space-based ballistic missile warning system.
Some Pentagon officials and lawmakers have cited cyberattack threats to U.S. satellites as justification for expanding space-based capabilities.
Beijing is also expanding its space-defense options, with a focus on “counter-space, offensive cyber operations,” according to the Pentagon’s 2015 annual report on China’s military.
Meanwhile, the 2016 U.S. National Defense Authorization Act calls on the White House to develop an integrated, interagency policy plan to deter enemy attacks in space.
Stars and Stripes staffer Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this report.