US to Activate New Space Force Command in Indo–Pacific Amid Tensions With North Korea, China

The United States Space Force will activate its first component command in the Indo-Pacific this week, aiming to deter aggression in the region, as tensions with China and North Korea continue to rise.

US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). on Twitter that the new Space Force unit will be activated on Tuesday, making INDOPACOM the first combatant command to host a Space Force unit since its inception in 2019.

Space Command aims “to deter conflict and, if necessary, defeat aggression, deliver space combat power for joint/joint forces, and defend the vital interests of the US and its allies and partners,” according to its website.

The component command will undergo mission analysis and planning over the next six months, Space Force Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir said Monday, adding that the activation shows the importance of the region to the United States.

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“This is a signal to anyone who wants to undermine freedom of navigation, freedom of maneuver in the free and open Indo-Pacific, or anyone who wants to undermine the international rule-based order that is the foundation for prosperity. for all free nations who choose to participate,” Mastalir told reporters before the activation.

The announcement came days after North Korea fired a suspected intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Friday, North Korea’s longest-range missile designed to carry a nuclear warhead anywhere in the United States.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched the ICBM launch with his daughter, in his first public appearance, and warned that his country would use nuclear weapons “with all-out confrontation” to counter threats from the United States, state-run Central Korea. News Agency reported.

North Korea insists that the US military presence in the region is proof of the United States’ hostility towards the country. Pyongyang also said its new series of weapons launches was a response to what it called provocative military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

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The Chinese threat

Space Force General Bradley Saltzman, chief of space operations, previously said the new component in INDOPACOM aims to strengthen US space integration, citing China as a pacing threat, Air & Space Force Magazine reported.

“We just think that space is critical now that we need a seat at that table,” Saltzman said at the meeting on May 19.

“The biggest change is that combatant commanders will have subordinate commanders that they can task to effectively integrate space capabilities,” he added.

The Pentagon, in its annual report to Congress published in November 2021, highlighted China’s space and counterspace capabilities.

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“PRC [People’s Republic of China] continue to develop counterspace capabilities—including direct ascent, co-orbital, electronic warfare, and directed energy capabilities—that can contest or deny our adversaries access and operations in the space domain during crisis or conflict,” the report read.

One of the operational space technologies in China’s arsenal is the ground-based anti-satellite missile (ASAT), according to the report. In January 2007, China launched an anti-satellite missile against one of its inactive weather satellites, drawing international attention.

“China may intend to pursue additional ASAT weapons capable of destroying satellites up to geosynchronous Earth orbit,” read the report.

Mimi Nguyen Ly and Frank Fang contributed to this report.

Aldgra Fredly

Follow up

Aldgra Fredly is a freelance writer based in Malaysia, covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.


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