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China Accuses US of ‘Weaponizing’ Space, US Hits Back Blaming Russia & China

A view from ‘neutral’ lower orbit (Image Source: Arch Daily)

Back in 2018, US President Donald Trump announced, to relatively mild fanfare, the Pentagon’s creation of a new “Space Force,” as the sixth branch of the US military which would henceforth be managing and conducting missions in the space domain. Up until this time, the idea of militarizing or ‘weaponizing’ outer space had been more or less retrained by a series of international treaties and UN agreements which delineates space as a ‘neutral’ domain, and thus prohibits any one nation proclaiming domination over what is effectively an infinite, uncharted commons.

“We must have American dominance in space,” said Trump in a speech at the National Space Council at the time.

“We are going to have the Air Force, and we are going to have the space force …. separate, but equal. It is going to be something so important,” added the President.

Of course, this is potentially problematic on a number of levels, starting with the balance of power in international relations between not only United States, Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China, but also a host of other emerging nations on the international scene.

While humanity’s presence in space is nothing new, nor is the overwhelming US domination of mechanized activity in the Earth’s lower orbit, the agreed policy of neutrality of space has acted as a salient balancer of power which has allowed all capable countries the opportunity to engage in outer space activity within an internationally accepted framework, and that no single nation can claim ownership of space or extraterrestrial bodies, such as atmospheric sectors, the Moon, or Mars. Trump’s announcement indicates that this may no longer be the case. With claims of ownership and dominion also come disputes, and as history clearly demonstrates, disputes over territory often lead to war between nations.

In the past few decades, we have witnessed an explosion in commercial technical deployment into space, as well as the miniaturization of satellites, which itself has opened up a sort of Pandora’s Box of possibilities and game changing applications, including military ones. Add to this, the imminent arrival of high-end space and lunar tourism, and it quickly becomes clear that the US is positioning itself to be the arbiter of this new and expansive commercial realm.

In other words, America, who is so often referred to as “the world’s policeman,” is now preparing to extend its self-styled mandate into the heavens.

Not surprisingly, this issue has already triggered a war of words back on terra firma.

South Front reports…

China accused the US’ newly-established Space Force as an attempt to weaponize space.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made the comments in his press briefing.

“The US Air Force chief of staff said that as China and Russia pose a strong threat to the US, the country needs greater strength to deal with the space capabilities of China and Russia. I wonder if China has a comment?”

To the question, Geng Shuang responded that US has disregarded any opposition by the international community and has instead decided to weaponize space.

“In recent years, disregarding opposition from the international community, the US has been pushing its space dominance strategy, going further down the path of weaponization of outer space and risking turning it into a new theater of warfare. Such moves are a serious breach of the consensus on peaceful use of outer space. They undermine global strategic balance and stability and pose a direct threat to peace and security in outer space. China is deeply concerned about and firmly opposed to this.”

He said that, when Washington spoke of “space security” it only meant its own, and accusing Russia and China of precisely what the US itself was doing.

“The space security the US has in mind is only security for itself while the fundamental purpose of the international community is to safeguard the common security of all mankind in outer space. In its obstinate pursuit of weaponization, the US keeps making an issue of China and Russia. That is the guilty party shifting the blame on the innocent and seeking excuses to free itself.”

Finally, he repeated a claim that has been made by Beijing numerous times: that China stands for the peaceful use of space by the entire international community and stands against weaponizing it.

“China stands for peaceful use of outer space and against weaponization of and arms race in outer space. Under current circumstances, there is greater relevance and urgency to initiate negotiation of a legally-binding instrument on outer space arms control. We hope the international community, certain major countries in particular, will adopt a prudent and responsible attitude to safeguard lasting peace and tranquility in outer space and make sure it will not become a new battlefield.”

According to Axios, China’s ambitions and intentions in space remain questionable, but it “has publicly maintained that its goals in space are peaceful.” But, an US Congressional panel, China’s “military is also working toward shoring up its capabilities in space, driving the U.S. to take stock of its own orbital defenses.”

US President Donald Trump also made it quite clear that the space force was specifically aimed at deterring the US’ adversaries and not allowing them to lead the international community’s progress in that regard.

“The Space Force will help us deter aggression and control the ultimate high ground …. For the first time since President Harry Truman created the Air Force over 70 years ago — think of that — we will create a brand new American military service. That’s such a momentous statement,” Trump said at the signing ceremony.

“With my signature today, you will witness the birth of the Space Force, and that will be now officially the sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces. That is something really incredible. It’s a big moment. That’s a big moment, and we’re all here for it. Space, going to be a lot of things happening in space,” he added.

Meanwhile, China itself is readying its heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket for its comeback flight at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China’s Hainan Province. Watch:

Continue this story at South Front

READ MORE SPACE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire NASA Files




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