By Song Sang-ho
SEOUL, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- A top U.S. military official called Monday for strong space cooperation with South Korea, stressing credible deterrence in the "contested" security domain comes from a robust partnership based on "mutual trust and shared values."
Gen. Jay Raymond, the chief of Space Operations at the United States Space Force, made the call during a security forum in Seoul, as a Sino-U.S. competition is intensifying with Beijing pushing to become a major space power.
"A key part of credible deterrence comes from strong international partnerships built on mutual trust and shared values. The long-standing alliance between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea is a great example of this strong partnership," he said in a keynote speech at the International Aerospace Symposium hosted by South Korea's Air Force.
"We look forward to continuing that national cooperation in this space domain," he added.
Stressing space is "critical to national security," the general said it has become a "contested domain," in apparent allusion to growing global competition among major powers to increase their presence or secure primacy in space.
Raymond also touched on an agreement he signed with South Korea's Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Park In-ho earlier this year to hold regular space engagement talks, which he said would allow the allies to build a deeper partnership.
"In fact, one of the Space Force's top priorities is building partnerships with nations around the globe, including the Republic of Korea. We are working with these nations to train together, to build new capabilities together and to operate together," he said. "That is the deep level of cooperation required in the contested space domain today."
In his congratulatory speech, Seoul's Defense Minister Suh Wook reaffirmed South Korea's commitment to bolstering space security capabilities.
"Our military will continue to procure various space capabilities to proactively respond to future threats from space down the road," Suh said. "We will fulfill our role and responsibilities to ensure our Republic of Korea will lead a new era of space."
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Park underscored that space has become a core domain for national security, and called for thorough preparations for future space operations.
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