HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

China’s Military Looks to Outer Space


Outer space is emerging as a possible theater of operations for China’s armed forces, an analysis published in the mass-circulation People’s Daily said Aug. 2.

The analysis, from a group of unidentified researchers at the National Defense University, listed space as an area where the People’s Liberation Army must be equipped and prepared to defend the nation’s interests.

”Our military should not only protect China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, but should also protect the oceans and transport routes and other economic interests as well as ... the security of space,” it said.

Similar suggestions were put forward last month in the Study Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party’s Central Party School.

”We should strive to develop coordinated land, sea, air and space systems,” the paper said.

This seemed to mark a departure from previous strategic literature in China, which has tended to give space a less prominent place in defense planning.

The most recent government white paper on defense published in late 2004 only made scattered references to space and did not characterize it as a possible theater of operations for its armed forces.

China instead used the white paper to urge efforts to prevent an expensive arms race in space. “Outer space is the common property of mankind,” it stated.

”China hopes that the international community would take action as soon as possible to conclude an international legal instrument on preventing the weaponization of, and arms race in, outer space through negotiations.”

Despite the frequent reassurances that China wants space to remain weapons-free, in reality its space program has to a large extent been a military undertaking from the very beginning.

In official chronologies, the start of China’s space endeavors is often taken to be almost exactly 50 years ago, on October 8, 1956, when it opened its first institute of missile and rocket research.

In a white paper on its space program published in August 2004, the government also acknowledged that national defense purposes were among the main objectives for the development of satellites.

And just like the first American and Soviet astronauts, all China’s men in space so far have been former fighter pilots.

Reports suggest that governments across the globe do pay attention to the defense implications of space flight, to the extent that fiscal and technical constrains make that possible.

Earlier this year The New York Times reported the U.S. government was conducting research into building a ground-based laser weapon that could destroy enemy satellites in orbit.

The secret project would use beams of concentrated light to destroy such satellites to disrupt enemy communications.

The weapon is part of a wide-ranging effort to develop defensive and offensive space weapons, the Times said, citing federal officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The weapon would use sensors, computers and flexible mirrors to counteract atmospheric turbulence.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org