The U.S. Will Keenly Eye North Korea’s Space Warfare Capabilities
A senior US Department of Defense official stated on the 17th (local time) that they are “monitoring North Korea’s war capabilities in space” about the launch of North Korea’s military reconnaissance satellite. North Korea has publicly pledged to develop space science and technology nationally, including the additional launch of three military reconnaissance satellites this year.
John Plumb, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, responded to a question during a space policy briefing about ‘how to deter the North’s potential space-domain threats’ by saying, “There are clear issues, including violations of multiple UN Security Council resolutions, including ballistic missiles,” but also noted that “it is not clear that just launching a satellite poses a threat.”
However, Plumb explained that “concerning the perspective that North Korea is a threat in space, we are seriously monitoring whether it has elements enabling the North’s ability to conduct warfare.”
North Korea plans to launch three additional reconnaissance satellites this year, following the launch of its first military reconnaissance satellite, Malligyong-1, last November. North Korea has previously showcased the capabilities of its reconnaissance satellite by claiming that Malligyong-1 has photographed the White House and the Pentagon in the United States, US military bases in Guam and Hawaii, and Jinhae, Busan, Ulsan, Pohang, Daegu, and Gangneung in South Korea.