Country: Republic of Korea
Delegate Name: Lila Darwiche
In the six decades following the launch of Sputnik 1 into outer space, opportunities beyond earth have grown more and more familiar to various countries across the globe. Over 7000 artificial satellites are currently orbiting in the outskirts of earth’s atmosphere, functioning as tools for observation, navigation, and communication. In the context of the military, satellites are valuable assets for reconnaissance, conducting long range operations, and providing early warnings of enemy activity. Despite its many useful functions, the militarization of outer space is a contentious topic of discussion, with many experts warning of the dangers of advanced technology when used offensively. Placing devices with destructive capacity in outer space can pose a threat to national security, and defensive measures taken in response to this can very easily spark an all-out arms race. As we gather for discussions on the benefits and dangers of utilizing space for military purposes, safety and transparency between nations is of the utmost importance.
As a member state of the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) since 1994, the Republic of Korea greatly values international coordination and utilizing space as a tool, not a weapon. With the help of American companies like SpaceX, the Republic of Korea has launched numerous satellites into the atmosphere, primarily used for meteorology and observational purposes. In May of this year, the Republic of Korea successfully launched its first independent commercial-grade satellite and intends to launch its first independant spy satellite on November 30th. By establishing a surveillance system based in space, the Republic of Korea will have access to new security reinforcements and safety measures, which have proven to be imperative in recent years. On November 21st at 13:42 GMT, after two unsuccessful attempts, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea launched a reconnaissance satellite into orbit, effectively breaching UN Security Council Resolution 1718, which suspended all ballistic missile activites within the nation. When discussing what constitutes the militarization of outer space, it is essential to take into account the importance of international safety. The solution to a threat is protection, but without clear definitions of either concept, our atmosphere becomes plagued with uncertainty.
The Outer Space Treaty, though sufficient in outlining the basic framework of international space law, should be revisited and expanded upon. The Republic of Korea recommends looking to the consensus report A/68/189, submitted by a GGE on Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBMs) in outer space. This report emphasizes the importance of information exchange on space policies, international cooperation, consultative mechanisms, and contact and visits to space launch facilities. Along with this, creating a multilateral code of conduct will help clarify what is expected of nations as they establish themselves beyond earth’s surface. With the goal of producing a solution that promotes the progress of all nations, while also providing the necessary safety measures, the Republic of Korea looks forward to discussing this topic in the near future.