China will drop its adherence to rules barring war in space, in any future conflict with the United States, and attack U.S. space assets, so American forces need to field space defense systems, a noted analyst reported.
And Chinese leaders are taking actions signaling they may take on U.S. forces in active combat.
“In event of conflict with China, we can expect to see [Chinese] military operations carried out across all the domains of war: land, sea, air, space, and the electromagnetic spectrum” with information warfare and cyber warfare, according to Larry M. Wortzel, a commissioner on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (but these views are his own), and a retired Army colonel.
Wortzel spoke at a forum of the American Enterprise Institute conservative think tank, a session that focused on his report.
The United States must be able to defend itself against such attacks, he continued.
“There are … sound reasons to prepare to defend American interests in space,” as well as to attempt to negotiate mutual threat reduction measures, “and to pursue programs that will ensure that the U.S. military will have access to space — and space-based logistical support — in any future conflict,” Wortzel stated.
His comments came after China early this year used a ground-based missile to demolish one of its own aging weather satellites, an impressive demonstration of anti-satellite capability, and also “painted” and temporarily disabled a U.S. military satellite with a ground-based laser.
“Any military operations [that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) initiates] in space will be part of a more coordinated attack on an enemy’s knowledge and command systems,” Wortzel predicted.
While the Chinese communist dictatorship is a secretive government that hides its intentions, Wortzel said much can be inferred from actions of the Asian giant.
For example, China is laying the legalistic groundwork now for later military aggression in space, he stated.
He argued that “the PLA and the Chinese Central Commission will likely justify any of its actions in advance by conducting what it calls ‘legal warfare,'” Wortzel asserted.
China on the one hand will play along and observe rules saying that space is a commons that should remain peaceful, without warfare. But as soon as China goes to war with another power such as the United States, then suddenly all bets are off, and China will ignore any rules.
Wortzel predicted that in any conflict, “altitude limits on space control will be off.”
Just as China summarily claims jurisdiction over the de facto independent nation of Taiwan, so too China will claim that its sovereign territory extends upward without limit into outer space, rejecting any notion that satellites of other nations have a right to free, peaceful and unfettered passage over Sino territory, according to Worzel.
“By observing the military capabilities China is acquiring and reading its literature, we know that China’s leaders are preparing as though they might have to fight the United States,” he reported.
China also will attempt to play off views of some members of Congress and others in the United States that criticize any so-called weaponization of space, he stated.
“The PRC’s foreign ministry, security services, Communist Party liaison department, and the PLA will likely exploit political divisions in the United States over nuclear testing and space-based weapon systems,” according to Wortzel.
He recalled that in the most freezing eras of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and United States granted each other peaceful passage of satellites and spaceships through the commons of space. There was dialogue and agreement on that.
But there has been no such deal with the Chinese, he observed.
“Indeed, the PLA has either ignored or rebuffed American efforts at such a dialogue,” Wortzel stressed.
But he said the United States should press China to enter talks, which would “help clarify the rationale for U.S. space policy and help reduce the threat of space warfare.”
Wortzel’s report entitled “The Chinese People’s Liberation Army and Space Warfare” can be viewed in its entirety at http://www.aei.org and clicking on Recent Events-more recent events, and going to Related Materials.
China Announces Space Plans, Including Cosmic Communist Party Branch
China, in addition to planning for orbiting vehicles and spacewalks, also is planning to institute a Communist Party branch in space, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which quoted Xinhua News.
The announcement of future Chinese space plans showed China is determined to become a major player in manned space activities, with many of the accomplishments matching up with those of the United States and Russia.
China already became the third nation to send a human into space, when the Asian giant sent a taikonaut into space in 2003.
Once China establishes a space station of its own in coming decades, then astronauts aboard it would form a Communist Party branch, according to Chinese plans.