Following the communist mouthpiece of the People’s Republic of China, the country voiced its firm opposition to the weaponization of outer space and an arms race in outer space and its determination to attach importance to the steps for more transparency and confidence building on outer space. The statement came as Wang Qun, the Chinese ambassador for disarmament affairs, was speaking at the thematic debate on outer space at the First Committee of the UN General Assembly. The First Committee is in charge of disarmament and international security. “The Chinese government always firmly opposes to the weaponization of outer space and an arms race in outer space, and dedicates itself to efforts for maintaining peace and security in outer space,” Wang said.
However righteous and conscientious the Chinese stance on militarization of outer space may be, it is most rhetorical and declamatory in reality. The annual Pentagon report issued in 2006addresses the current and future military strategy of the People’s Republic of China. It takes a look at the current and probable future course of military-technological development on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the tenets and probable development of Chinese grand strategy, security strategy, and military strategy, and of the military organizations and operational concepts, through the next 20 years. The report states, “In the next decade, Beijing most likely will field radar, ocean surveillance, and high-resolution photo-reconnaissance satellites. China will eventually deploy advanced imagery, reconnaissance, and Earth resource systems with military applications.”
After a three-year leap, the China was back to being its unapologetic self, rubbing imbecilic rationales in a half-hearted attempt to cover for its ambitious, out-of-the-world projects. On November 2009, calling militarization in the space and in air “a threat to the mankind,” Gen. Xu Qiliang said, addressing the media, that China must develop a strong force in the two arenas in order to face challenges of that threat. “Only power could protect peace. Superiority in space and in air would mean, to a certain extent, superiority over the land and the oceans,” said the general in an interview with Xinhua, 10 days ahead of 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA air force. “As the air force of a peace-loving country, we must forge our swords and shields in order to protect peace. The Chinese people are a peace-loving people, and China is a responsible developing country which upholds a national defense policy that is defensive in nature,” he added, refuting allegations of being a competitive power rather than a defensive entity.
China aggressively accelerated the pace of its manned space program by developing a 17,000-pound man-tended military space laboratory which was planned for launch in 2011. The project is being led by the General Armaments Department of the PLA, and gives the Chinese two separate station development programs. Shenzhou 8 will be flown (in November 2011, unmanned, to test robotic docking systems. Subsequent missions will be manned to utilize the new pressurized module capabilities of the Tiangong outpost. But barring the technicalities, more importantly, China is openly acknowledging that the new Tiangong outpost will involve military space operations and technology development. Also the fact it has been given a number one numerical designation indicates that China may build more than one such military space laboratory in the coming years.
The Sino perspective towards space militarization is adamant and allegorical, like most of its national and foreign policy dictums. While China is worried about how U.S. space weaponization plans might affect the Chinese national security and geopolitical interests, it is being competitive and disregarding its own stance on space military control. To reiterate, the country cares much less about spatial waste than it cares about inventing ways to deplete the already cracking U.S. economy. The United States has legitimate concerns about its space assets, given that U.S. military operations, economy and society are increasingly dependent on space assets and such assets are inherently vulnerable to attacks from many different sources — China, mainly, being its top adversary. If China’s decisive concern was the environment and peace, as repeated time and again at the United Nations, it wouldn’t have potentially resorted to translating an opponent’s strategic layout as further excuse for self-empowerment (lethally).
Justifying the counteractive superposition, Hu Xiaodi, China’s ambassador for disarmament affairs asked, “With lethal weapons flying overhead in orbit and disrupting global strategic stability, why should people eliminate weapons of mass destruction or missiles on the ground?”
On that note, the judgment call lies on the UN and the much sought after United States to keep running the balancing act.
Written for The Huffington Post