A new US intelligence report portraying Moscow and Beijing as trying to bring warfare into the heavens has drawn the ire of China, which insists that space is not Washington’s “private property.”
“I want to make it clear that outer space belongs to all mankind. It is not exclusively owned by any one country and especially not the private property of the US,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, referring to the latest paper by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Hua slammed the “unwarranted and utterly baseless comments” in the DIA report, saying China stands for the peaceful use of space and opposes its militarization.
“For many years,” the spokeswoman stated, “China, Russia and other countries have been working hard and trying to reach an international legal instrument to fundamentally prevent the weaponization of or an arms race in outer space.”
The DIA report – which comes amid Donald Trump’s cosmic endeavors such as the establishment of the Space Command – fans fears of US dominance being challenged everywhere, including space. Russia and China “view space as important to modern warfare and view counterspace capabilities as a means to reduce US and allied military effectiveness,” it claims, noting that both countries have done much to boost their capabilities.
“These capabilities provide their militaries… with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track, and target US and allied forces,” the DIA says.
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What it did not say, however, is that a host of senior US military leaders have openly discussed the prospect of offensive weapons being delivered into Earth’s orbit. Former Pentagon chief James Mattis, for instance, said in 2017 that the US needs to have offensive weapons in space “should someone decide to militarize it and go on the offensive.”
In fact, Moscow warned in early January that it’s Washington which is eying space as a potential battlefield. In particular, the Russian Foreign Ministry cited US plans to develop space-based interceptors.
The US, China, Russia, and dozens of other countries are parties to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty that bars weapons of mass destruction from being placed in space and installing them on the Moon or any other celestial body.