S. Korea, US agree on first joint research to develop defense space strategy



South Korea and the United States agreed to conduct joint research on space policy for the first time, in a bid to reinforce the alliance’s capabilities against mounting security threats in space.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry and the US Defense Department held the 18th session of the Space Cooperation Working Group on Monday in Washington, the South Korean military announced Tuesday.

Cho Yong-geun, the South Korean director general of the North Korea Policy Bureau at the Defense Ministry, and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space and Missile Defense John Hill attended the meeting as representatives.

“The representatives agreed on the ‘South Korea-US joint research on space policy’ for the first time to develop space policy at the South Korea-US alliance-level,” South Korea’s Defense Ministry said in a Korean-language statement.

The joint research will be the first official document in which the South Korean Defense Ministry and US Defense Department propose the development direction of space policy.

The initial study will include “specific tasks” to strengthen alliance-level space capabilities in preparation for “growing space security threats.”

Seoul and Washington also shared the view of continuing military cooperation in the space domain to “achieve the strategic value of space cooperation as an alliance and to strengthen joint space capabilities.”

Specifically, both sides agreed on “sharing information to build a common understanding of the space domain, fostering space specialists through their participation in training and exercises and enhancing combined space operation capability to improve interoperability.”

South Korea and the US committed to actively pushing for the joint research project and closely monitoring progress through holding regular sessions of the SCWG. The sessions would serve the overall goal of devising a viable space policy.

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said it initially proposed the joint research on space policy during the 14th session of the SCWG in February 2020. Seoul and Washington continued close consultations for two years before the final agreement Monday.

The two countries also exchanged views on the “recent national and defense space policies and had in-depth discussion on sharing information on space domain awareness,” according to the South Korean military.

“South Korea and the US highly appreciate the continued space cooperation between the military authorities, including the achievement of the agreement on the ‘South Korea-US joint research on space policy,” the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

The South Korean Defense Ministry and the US Defense Department “commit to further reinforce space cooperation based on the ironclad South Korea-US alliance.”

Seoul and Washington have held 18 meetings of the SCWG since 2013 after both sides signed the terms of reference for bilateral military space cooperation, including the creation of a regular consultative body during the 44th US-South Korea Security Consultative meeting in 2012.


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