U.S. SPACECOM commander says N.K.’s satellite launch violates U.N. resolutions

April 24, 2024

The commander of the U.S. Space Command said Wednesday that North Korea’s satellite launch violates U.N. Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and its preparations for additional launches have been under close watch.

Gen. Stephen Whiting made the remarks following his two-day trip to South Korea, where discussions focused on enhancing space and missile capabilities, amid speculation about Pyongyang’s preparations for a second spy satellite launch.

The North succeeded in placing its first spy satellite into orbit in November following two failed attempts and vowed to send three more this year.

“Obviously, we are keenly watching North Korea’s missile developments and their space aspirations,” Whiting said in a digital press briefing.

He was speaking from Japan, the second leg of his Asia trip. It marks his first overseas trip since assuming the command in January.

Whiting denounced Pyongyang’s launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and spy satellites as violations of UNSC resolutions that ban the use of ballistic missile technology, and called for it to cease such activities.

“Every time they launch into space or launch one of their ICBM or missile tests, they are violating United Nations resolutions because they are not supposed to use intercontinental ballistic missile technology. So you know, we call on them to stop,” Whiting said.

During his visit to South Korea, Whiting met Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Kim Myung-soo, members of the Air Force and U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) personnel to bolster the integration of space assets within the broader defense framework of the Korean Peninsula, the USFK said.

He emphasized the importance of joint coordination and collaboration with South Korea and Japan to deter North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats, highlighting the activation of a trilateral real-time system for sharing data on tracking North Korean missile launches in December.

“We need to continue the excellent work in the trilateral agreement between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan to share missile warning information so that all three countries fully understand anytime North Korea launches a missile where that missile is headed, and we can provide warning and to our to our national leadership to our military forces and to our populations,” he said, referring to South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

His trip comes at a time when Seoul and Washington have been exploring avenues to expand their coordination in the realm of space, which was demonstrated by the launch of the U.S. Space Forces Korea, a component unit under the USFK, in December 2022.

Meanwhile, USFK Commander Gen. Paul LaCamera, who accompanied Whiting on the trip in South Korea, stressed the importance of the allies’ close coordination in the space domain to adapt to the changing landscape of modern warfare.

“Our increased efforts in space are meant to prevent adversaries from gaining advantages, and to enable our forces with the full resources of our military and civilian space agencies and departments,” LaCamera said in a release.