China Daily

Washington still waging Cold War in space

Regarding space exploration as an integral part of the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, China has always kept an open attitude to international cooperation and it is committed to using its aerospace technology and space research findings to serve the common good.

In contrast, the United States has never changed its zero-sum approach to space, and has never stopped militarizing it. The latest edition of the State of the Space Industrial Base report urges the United States to attract private investment to further its space endeavors, so that it can maintain its superiority in space technology.

Written by military and civilian officials from the US Space Force, the Defense Innovation Unit, the Department of the Air Force and the Air Force Research Laboratory — the contributors to the report speak volumes of the nature and purpose of the US’ space cause — the report’s main argument is that the US is in danger of lagging behind other countries in space and it raises an alarm about how fast China is developing its space missions.

Without providing any substantial evidence, Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit, warned at an Atlantic Council forum convened to discuss the report on Wednesday that “China could surpass the US in space superiority if we don’t increase our investment”.

He urged the US to have a “national vision” for space investment and innovation to stay ahead of China. With this aim, the US set up the Space Force as an independent power paralleled with its air force, army and navy as early as 2019.

That the report says “China is making steady progress toward their goal of surpassing the US as the dominant space power by 2045” is a pure grasping at shadows. For China, the development of its aerospace industry is for peaceful purposes not an arms race.

That the arms race in space served as the last straw crippling the Soviet Union has reinforced the US’ outdated thinking about space. The strategists in Washington behold dominance in space as a jewel in the crown of its hegemony, and they will never accept the fact that their concept is not only irresponsible but also dangerous.

Many solutions to common challenges confronting human beings, particularly global warming, might lie in the exploration of space. Countries should abandon the I-come-I-conquer-I-plant-a-flag model of space exploration and instead work together to advance human knowledge and space technologies, which may have practical benefits back on Earth.

It is a shame that the US is not only smearing China’s space cause but also seeking to block its international cooperation by trying to coerce other countries not to collaborate with China and blacklisting Chinese entities. Space should not be a new front for the dog-eat-dog competition on Earth, or the new frontier for colonial expansionism.

Time will tell which country’s space cause is on the right side of history.

Editorial, China Daily

Categories China Daily Opinion