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Experts raise concerns that China could use its space station for military purposes

ANI | Updated: May 04, 2021 18:32 IST

Beijing [China], May 4 (ANI): With the launch of the core module of China's first space station, several experts in the West have raised concerns about the clandestine ambitions behind the construction of the Chinese station and triggering of a new 'space race'.
The country is set to begin an ambitious two-year construction project 370 km above Earth for their modular space station and has also announced that it is open to any nation intending to partner in scientific collaboration and research, reported EurAsian Times.
A recently-released intelligence report by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence on global threats said that the People's Republic of China (PLA) will continue to integrate space services--such as satellite reconnaissance and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT)--and satellite communications into its weapons and command-and-control systems to erode the US military's information advantage.
Beijing is working to match or exceed US capabilities in space to gain "the military, economic, and prestige benefits" of matching the US's capabilities in space, warned the report.
"China wants this space station for both the range of civil commercial reasons and for military missions. It will be conducting science experiments, production experiments, material production experiments; but the shape of the space station based on the Russian MIR, based on stolen technology, according to my Russian critics," said Rick Fisher, International Assessment and Strategy Center, who is a Senior Fellow on Asian Military Affairs in a podcast.

"I expect that as China's space program is controlled by the People's Liberation Army, which has sought as much dual-use benefit from both the manned and unmanned space programs of the space station, as well as future moon bases, will all feature dual-use elements, meaning military elements," he added.
Fisher later called China's space ambitions as a 'military operation', reported EurAsian Times.
China has heavily increased its overall government funding for space activities in 2020, exceeded only the US.
Despite China ramping up its space research and exploration programme, the country spent USD 8.9 billion in space activities, which is very low compared to the USD 48 billion spent by the US, according to EurAsian Times.
The US had passed the 'Wolf Amendment' in 2011, which barred China's space agencies from working with NASA, restricting any exchange of information between the American space agency and the China National Space Agency or other Chinese space organisations. (ANI)