China’s growing capabilities in space could undercut any US military response if Beijing resorted to force to bring Taiwan into its fold, a study released yesterday by a US congressional commission said.
China’s military is rapidly boosting its space programs to advance Chinese Communist Party interests “and defend against perceived challenges to sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the 84-page report by the Project 2049 Institute, a research group on Asia-Pacific security issues.
The study said China’s growing push in military space programs “may complicate US freedom of action in the Asia-Pacific region” for instance, because Beijing can use its satellites to track US aircraft carriers and target them with anti-ship ballistic missiles.
The report was prepared for the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a 12-member bipartisan group set up in 2000 to report to US lawmakers on the security implications of US-China trade.
“Taiwan remains the principle illustrative scenario guiding the PLA’s [People’s Liberation Army] military ambitions in space,” the study said.
The PLA is improving its ability to monitor events in the Asia--Pacific region through an expanded system of space-based remote sensing, communications and navigation satellites, the Project 2049 Institute said.
Such space assets could help China threaten an expanding number of targets throughout the western Pacific Ocean, South China Sea and elsewhere around its periphery, the report said.
Among the potential targets of Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles, it said, would be any “intervening US forces,” such as aircraft carriers.