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US forces launch space unit in South Korea amid North’s growing threats


Soldiers attend the activation ceremony for a space-monitoring organisation – United States Space Forces Korea, set up aiming to keep an eye on North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities, on December 14, 2022 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.— Reuters 

SEOUL: US Forces Korea launched a new space forces unit on Wednesday as the allies ramp up efforts to better counter North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats.

The US Space Forces Korea is the second overseas space component of the Space Force and tasked with monitoring, detecting and tracking incoming missiles, as well as bolstering the military’s overall space capability.

US Forces Korea commander Gen. Paul LaCamera hosted a ceremony at Osan Air Base in the South Korean city of Pyeongtaek to mark the creation of the unit, which will be led by Lt. Col. Joshua McCullion.

United States Forces Korea Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera (C) attends the activation ceremony after setting up a space-monitoring organisation - United States Space Forces Korea, on December 14, 2022 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. — Reuters
United States Forces Korea Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera (C) attends the activation ceremony after setting up a space-monitoring organisation – United States Space Forces Korea, on December 14, 2022 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. — Reuters

The launch came as Seoul and Washington seek to boost security cooperation to deter North Korea, which has tested intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching US mainland this year.

South Korea’s air force also set up its own space unit this month to bolster its space power and operation capability together with the US Space Force.

The United States Space Forces Korea patch is seen on a uniform during the activation ceremony for a space-monitoring organisation - United States Space Forces Korea, set up aiming to keep an eye on North Koreas nuclear and missile activities, on December 14, 2022 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.— Reuters
The United States Space Forces Korea patch is seen on a uniform during the activation ceremony for a space-monitoring organisation – United States Space Forces Korea, set up aiming to keep an eye on North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities, on December 14, 2022 in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.— Reuters  

Around 28,500 US troops are stationed in South Korea under a mutual defence treaty forged after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The US Indo-Pacific Command and Central Command set up their space units last month in Hawaii and Florida.

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