Washington, DC - Today, at the opening of the second U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) Civil Space Dialogue, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Yun Byung-se and the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Mark Lippert signed a Framework Agreement for Cooperation in Aeronautics and the Exploration and Use of Airspace and Outer Space for Civil and Peaceful Purposes. Today’s signing ceremony honors the commitment made by our two Presidents during their Summit meeting in October 2015 to expand space cooperation.
This Agreement sets forth the terms and conditions for potential cooperation between our two countries in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes in areas of common interest and on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. The Agreement is intended to expedite future cooperation by establishing a legal framework, at the government-to-government level, for cooperation in space exploration.
For the United States, the Agreement designates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey as implementing agencies. The Agreement also identifies the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), Korea Aerospace Research Institute, Korean Astronomy and Space Science Institute, Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA), and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology as implementing agencies for the ROK. Furthermore, as needed, the two governments may also designate other implementing agencies to facilitate expanded cooperation in our space programs.
The Agreement highlights potential cooperation related to topics such as cutting edge planetary exploration, earth observation and earth science, and improved understanding of heliophysics by exchanges of scientific data and exchanges of scientists, engineers, or other experts. During the second U.S.-ROK Civil Space Dialogue, our two countries will discuss potential cooperation on future exploration activities including the ROK’s lunar exploration project, utilizing the International Space Station, and the future exploration of Mars.
In addition, the Civil Space Dialogue also underscores ongoing space cooperation between our two countries, which includes collaboration between NASA and the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) to conduct the Korea-U.S. Air Quality (KORUS-AQ) Field Study; cooperation between NASA and KAIA for cooperation in air traffic management; and collaboration between NOAA and KMA on geostationary meteorological satellites to improve weather forecasts and warnings for the protection of lives and property.
The United States and the ROK recognize the importance of civil space cooperation as a tool to make the world safer and more prosperous. The Agreement builds on the firm U.S.-ROK alliance, the linchpin of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula and across the Asia-Pacific region, and exemplifies the evolution of the U.S.-ROK global partnership into increasingly strategic and important new frontiers of cooperation.