Published: Thu, February 14, 2019

Latest Pentagon report says China, Russia threaten US space dominance

Latest Pentagon report says China, Russia threaten US space dominance

If the US side truly cares about the security of outer space, it should work with China and actively participate in the arms control process of outer space. China and Russian Federation, however, have warned of an "arms race" potentially set off by the new Pentagon project. The treaty has been ratified by more than 100 countries including the United States, Russia, China, and North Korea.

"The People's Liberation Army also sees counterspace operations as a means to deter and counter a possible U.S. intervention during a regional military conflict", the report said, adding that destroying satellites would make it hard for the United States to target precision guided weapons.

The report is aimed at education; the public needs to understand all that space brings to the United States, its allies and the world at large, said a senior Defense Department official, speaking on background.

The new report follows one the agency released last month on China's military power, including its anti-satellite weapons and other counterspace capabilities.

China has demonstrated an anti-satellite missile and is working on a laser that could attack USA properties in space.

Russian Federation is likely pursuing directed energy weapons including lasers that could take out enemy satellites, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) said in a new assessment entitled "Challenges to Securities in Space". "These are totally groundless", ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.

"Chinese and Russian doctrine indicate that they view space as important to modern warfare and view counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce US and allied effectiveness", the senior official said. She said such developments were "more likely to turn into reality the risks of weaponizing outer space and making it a battlefield".

"Recently the USA has defined outer space as a battlefield and announced the establishment of an outer space force", spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing in Beijing. These agreements prohibit the placement of weapons of mass destruction (but not other weapons) in space. The agency goes on to claim that the Chinese military is probably attempting to build a laser weapon system that can "disrupt, degrade, or damage", orbital satellites and the sensors they use.

"As the number of satellites grows, so does the threats posed by space debris", the official said.

In 2003, China became the third country to achieve independent human space flight with the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft, commanded by astronaut Yang Liwei.

Anti-satellite weapons The report details a variety of Russian and Chinese anti-satellite weapons, including electronic warfare systems, directed-energy weapons and "kinetic" anti-satellite missiles.

"Space is fundamental to US prosperity", the Pentagon official said. "Additionally, there is a wave of exciting commercial technologies and investments in space that are expanding the potential opportunities, the benefits we can all enjoy".

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