The ongoing satellite space competition between North Korea and South Korea has escalated with a warning of potential war.
North Korea has explicitly cautioned against any interference with its recent launch of a spy satellite. The Korean Central News Agency responded by saying that any attack on their space asset would be considered a declaration of war.
Citing the priority of its sovereignty, North Korea had previously launched its Malligyong-1 satellite in late November, violating multiple United Nations resolutions. The country is concerned that the United States may perceive its spy satellite as a military threat and attempt to destroy it.
North Korea's defense ministry issued a statement warning that if the U.S. were to target their satellite, U.S. spy satellites over the Korean peninsula would become primary targets for destruction by the armed forces of North Korea, potentially leading to a space war, The Hill reported.
The U.S. Space Force's capabilities remain unclear, although there were reports of an exercise last month involving the transmission of radio frequency signals from the ground to a satellite.
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While Israel demonstrated the ability to destroy a ballistic missile outside Earth's atmosphere during the Israel-Hamas war, the potential outcome of a space war remains unclear.
Despite North Korea's history of frequently threatening or declaring war, such as insisting a U.N. speech by former President Donald Trump was a "declaration of war" in 2017, per The Atlantic, actual conflicts have rarely materialized. The Korean conflict dating back to the 1950s, however, remains technically unsettled.
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South Korea's launch of its “first military reconnaissance” satellite aboard SpaceX's Falcon-9 rocket drew criticism from North Korea, accusing the U.S. government of a double standard for permitting the launch from a military installation.
South Korea expects its new satellite to be fully functional by the first half of 2024, part of the "425 Project," which includes plans for four more image radar satellites and separate electro-optical and infrared satellites by 2025.
North Korea has also pledged to launch more spy satellites, though South Korea asserts its satellite superiority, claiming that the North Korean satellite cannot identify items smaller than one meter in size.
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