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US space commander calls for deepening security ties with S. Korea in space field

US Chief of Space Operations John Raymond speaking in his video message for the 2020 Defense Space Power Development Symposium held in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
US Chief of Space Operations John Raymond speaking in his video message for the 2020 Defense Space Power Development Symposium held in Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
The chief of the US Space Operations Command called Monday for closer defense cooperation with South Korea in the domain of space to better cope with emerging threats and boost mutual capacity.

Gen. John Raymond made the remarks in his video message for the 2020 Defense Space Power Development Symposium organized by Seoul's defense ministry and held in the day in Seoul.

"Today, space power is a growing source and conduit for national power, prosperity and prestige ... However, access to the domain can no longer be assumed. There is a growing need for security," Raymond said.

"In the future, the space force is committed to working with the Republic of Korea to improve our mutual capabilities to build capacity and resilience to emerging threats. Just like we have partnered on land, at sea and in the air, we must expand our cooperation in space," the general added.

The US commander then stressed that the goal of such cooperation is to expand "our collective advantage now to deter a conflict from starting in the first place," noting that the space capabilities underpin the security on the Korean Peninsula and across the Indo-Pacific region.

"Our relationship is a shining example of why our defense strategy tells us to strengthen alliances and attract new partners. We're clearly stronger together," the general added.

Defense Minister Suh Wook also delivered a congratulatory message for the inaugural symposium meant to explore ways to boost the country's space capabilities in military terms.

"Our military has made diverse efforts to beef up our defense capabilities in space," Suh said. "We will continue to enhance space capabilities by securing a military reconnaissance satellite and other assets, and setting up a system for joint space operations."

In a keynote speech for the symposium, Moon Chung-in, a special security adviser to President Moon Jae-in, said it is time for the country to make a "big push" to boost space defense capabilities.

The government should first seek to form a shared public understanding that "space is where we should go, not necessarily for the purpose of engaging in battles but for self-defense," the adviser said.

"If we stay defenseless and not prepared when everyone else goes to the space and targets us with a comparative advantage, we cannot help but face security threats," he said. (Yonhap)
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