China Working Toward ‘Space Great Power Status’
Article by Jack Beyrer September 2, 2020 (freebeacon.com)
• In September 1st, the US Department of Defense (DoD) rolled out its ‘2020 China Military Power Report’. (see here) In assessing Beijing’s militarized space program’s capacity and long-term strategy, the Pentagon announced that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has every intention of reaching “space great power status”.
• President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist leadership have developed a “space great power by every measurable yardstick that you can throw out there, not least of which is capacity for their military,” the DoD’s deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, Chad Sbragia, told the Washington Free Beacon.
• The DoD report concurs: “The PRC’s space enterprise continues to mature rapidly. Beijing has devoted significant resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications such as profit-generating launches, scientific endeavors, and space exploration,” the report reads. “Its primary target is the United States.”
• China now boasts the second-largest fleet of satellites, regularly works with Russia on weapons development, and has launched a series of rockets and rovers as it takes aim at Mars. The report details China’s plans to have its own permanent space station by 2022 and a lunar surface research station by 2025. Significant portions of China’s missile warning and military communication networks will also reside in space.
• Such efforts have required the full thrust of Chinese Communist Party investment and commitment. “They have a very clear and definitive aspiration for becoming a global power preeminent by all measures, at least in terms of status, to any others. And space is not the least of that,” says Sbragia.
• Meanwhile in Washington, the 2018 National Defense Strategy (see here) explicitly outlines space as a potential “warfighting domain,” and calls for extensive investment in space-facing defensive capabilities. Donald Trump has promised to make Space Force a priority in his second term.
A top Pentagon official announced on Tuesday that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army is building its capacities
toward “space great power status.”
“When you listen to the Chinese Communist leadership—particularly Xi Jinping, who serves as the core of the party—he’s outlined very specific requirements and expectations,” Chad Sbragia, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for China, told the Washington Free Beacon. “Xi’s done the same in terms of having space great power status—and that’s being a space great power by every measurable yardstick that you can throw out there, not least of which is capacity for their military.”
Sbragia’s comments came at an American Enterprise Institute event rolling out the 2020 China Military Power Report. The report offers a bird’s-eye view assessment of China’s military capacities, as well as its long-term strategy and trajectory. It also details Beijing’s development of a militarized space program.
“The PRC’s space enterprise continues to mature rapidly. Beijing has devoted significant resources to growing all aspects of its space program, from military space applications to civil applications such as profit-generating launches, scientific endeavors, and space exploration,” the report reads. “Its primary target is the United States.”
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