Biden pledges to expand space cooperation with South Korea and Japan

SEOUL, South Korea — U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to expand space cooperation with Japan and South Korea at back-to-back summits with leaders of two East Asian allies.

At a May 23 summit with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Biden agreed to work to send Japan’s first astronaut to the moon under the NASA-led Artemis program. At a May 21 summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in Seoul, Biden agreed to strengthen the alliance “in all areas of space cooperation.”

In a joint statement released following the May 23 summit, Biden and Kishida announced “progress in collaborating on the Artemis program,” including their “joint intention to include a Japanese astronaut on [the lunar] Gateway and on human and robotic missions to the lunar surface,” with the goal of signing an implementation agreement this year.

U.S.-Japan space cooperation “is taking off, looking to the moon and to Mars,” Biden said during a post-summit press conference with Kishida, who was broadcast live on Youtube. “I am excited about the work we will do together on the Gateway station around the moon and look forward to the first Japanese astronaut joining us on the lunar surface mission, as part of the Artemis program.”

Kishida has made it a priority to put ‘Japanese boots on the moon’ since his inauguration in October. He revised Japan’s space policy roadmap to include the goal of landing a Japanese astronaut on the Moon by the end of the 2020s. moon, and at the end of the 2020s, we will try to achieve the lunar landing of Japanese astronauts,” the Japanese prime minister said at a press conference. December 28 meeting of the Strategic Headquarters for Spatial Development. The revised roadmap also calls for cooperating with the Japanese private sector to develop crewed lunar rovers and other “systems critical to human activities on the moon.”

Ahead of the Tokyo summit, Biden met with South Korean President Yoon in Seoul, where they agreed to strengthen cooperation in all space-related sectors. The two countries will materialize their commitment in the framework of working dialogues between now and the end of the year.

US President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with his South Korean counterpart Yoon Suk-yeol before their May 21 summit in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: Presidential Office of South Korea

The engagement was part of a broader package of trade, security and technology agreements reached between the two leaders at the summit.

“President Yoon and President Biden are committed to strengthening the ROK-US alliance in all areas of space cooperation,” they said in a statement. joint statement released after the summit, referring to South Korea’s official name, Republic of Korea. “Building on the Republic of Korea’s prior commitment to participate in the Artemis programthe two presidents agreed to encourage joint research in the field of space exploration and to support the development by the Republic of Korea of ​​the Korean Positioning System (KPS).”

The two leaders also agreed to hold the 3rd U.S.-Korea Civil Space Dialogue by the end of the year to discuss concrete plans for cooperation in exploration, navigation and policy. spatial. The two countries launched the dialogue in 2014, based on a decision by the ROK-US Joint Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation. The first round of the dialogue was held in Washington in July 2014, and the second turn in Seoul in April 2016, attended by officials from space agencies and relevant government bodies from both sides. The two sides discussed a range of issues, including space exploration, satellites, space environment and space policy, through the channel, but for unknown reasons it lay dormant after the second meeting.

“To hold the third [U.S.-ROK] Civilian space dialogue means that both sides commit to addressing various space issues in an integrated way,” said An Hyoung-joon, a researcher at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, a state-funded think tank based in Sejong. SpaceNews.

In addition to this, the two leaders said they are committed to “continuing cooperation to ensure a safe, secure and sustainable space environment, including through bilateral space policy dialogue, and to strengthening space partnerships. defence, in particular through joint exercises”.

To discuss related issues, the US State Department and the South Korean Foreign Ministry will hold a fifth round of space policy dialogue in Seoul this year. the previous round was held last August in Washington, during which the two sides discussed issues aimed at “strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the field of space security”.

The United States and South Korea continue to grow closer in space security and defense. In April, the two countries agreed to cooperate on space situational awareness (SSA) for military purposes. According to the contractSeoul and Washington will “share outer space intelligence, train space experts through training and exercises, and improve interoperability for combined space operations.”

In August, South Korean Air Force Chief of Staff General Park In-ho and U.S. Space Force General John W. Raymond, Chief of Space Operations, signed a protocol of agreement on the formation of a Joint Space Policy Advisory Body at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Under the agreement, the two sides led a joint space policy advisory body, shared information on space surveillance, and worked together to build capacity for joint space operations such as missile defense. With this in mind, the South Korean Air Force has decided to join the joint military exercises led by the US Space Force.

Leave a Comment