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NASA's fear about China's militarization of space not baseless

News Agencies | Updated on: 12 July 2022, 13:01 IST
NASA's fear about China's militarization of space.

China earlier this month opposed remarks made by an official of NASA on its space program after the administrator of the US space agency, Bill Nelson, said that Beijing's space program is a "military" space program.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian during a presser said that it is not the first time that NASA has disregarded the facts and smeared China. This reaction came after NASA's Bill Nelson told the Bild newspaper that China might be contemplating a "takeover" of the Moon as part of its military space program.

Nelson said that the US is now involved in a new race to space, with China this time. He further claimed that in 2035, Beijing might finish the construction of its own Moon station and start experiments a year later.

In response to NASA official's comment, Zhao further said that Nelson, as the director of the US aerospace department, should be very aware of the dark history of the U.S. space program, the negative role the United States has played in creating space junk, provoking arms races in outer space, and undermining global strategic stability.

In recent years, the United States has openly defined outer space as a combat domain, accelerated the formation of the outer space force, developed and deployed offensive outer space weapons, and has long passively resisted the negotiation of legal documents on outer space control, and continuously strengthened the outer space military cooperation with its allies, he said.

According to the Chinese spokesperson, the United States has set up obstacles to space cooperation, arbitrarily sanctioned the space agencies of other countries, and introduced laws to restrict space cooperation and exchanges with China.

China advocates the peaceful use of outer space, opposes the weaponization of an arms race in outer space, and calls for the building of a community with a shared future in outer space, Zhao said.

He stressed that China's exploration of outer space is to meet the legitimate needs of the country's economy, society, science and technology, and security.

In an analysis by Washington-based Global Strat View, the publication said, "His (Nelson) fears may not be baseless." An article published by virtual think-tank how at the time when the Covid-19 virus had begun spread its tentacles in the world.

"China became the first country in the world to manage a soft landing of Chang'e-4 mission on the far side of the moon and deploy a rover to explore the lunar far side," the think tank noted.

Moreover, Beijing, in near future, will place its research station on the moon and land a spacecraft on its South Pole. Besides, this is the world's second major investor in the space program after the US, which aims to land its first astronauts on the moon by 2030. It also plans to be ready with a reusable carrier rocket by 2035, a nuclear-powered space shuttle by 2040, and become a leading space power by 2045.

The Global Strat View noted how the 2019 Chinese Defense White Paper categorically identified space as a "critical domain of international strategic competition." The Chinese Defence White Paper also recognized the vital role that space would play in improving the capabilities of "joint operations command to exercise reliable and efficient command over emergency responses, and to effectively accomplish urgent, tough and dangerous tasks."

Acknowledging the role of the People's Liberation Army Air Force, the Chinese Defense White Paper further said, "In line with the strategic requirements of integrating air and space capabilities as well as coordinating offensive and defensive operations, the PLAAF is accelerating the transition of its tasks from territorial air defense to both offensive and defensive operations."


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First published: 12 July 2022, 13:01 IST