For Xi Jinping (習近平) and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the military conquest of Taiwan is an absolute requirement for the CCP’s much more fantastic ambition: control over our solar system.
Controlling Taiwan will allow the CCP to dominate the First Island Chain and to better neutralize the Philippines, decreasing the threat to the most important People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force (SSF) space base, the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center on Hainan Island.
Satellite and manned space launches from the Jiuquan and Xichang Satellite Launch Centers regularly pass close to Taiwan, which is also a very serious threat to the PLA, but Wenchang will be key for China’s PLA-controlled space program achieving the CCP’s hegemonic ambitions on the Moon and beyond.
To win the Taiwan War, the SSF will be conducting battles in Low Earth Orbit (LEO, 80 to 2,000 kilometers) and higher Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO, 35,000 km).
SSF ground-based mobile lasers, ground-based anti-satellite interceptor missiles, satellite combat platforms, and possibly China’s Tiangong manned space station, will attack US, Japanese, and Taiwanese optical surveillance, radar surveillance, and communication satellites in LEO, and US early warning and navigation satellites in GEO.
However, control of GEO and higher orbits that extend into Cislunar Space, the area between the Earth and the Moon, also requires that the PLA gain a dominant position on the Moon.
Chinese space officials have repeatedly stressed this year that its Long March-10 (LM-10) space launch vehicle could begin testing in 2026 and be ready for a manned mission to the Moon by 2029, consisting of two LM-10s.
One will carry a new-design manned capsule that will take Chinese to the Moon and back, the other will loft a manned Moon Lander that will dock in lunar orbit with the capsule for crew transfer, and then detach and descend to the Moon.
What Chinese officials fail to comment upon is that in copying the old Soviet-era Lunniy Korabyl (Lunar Craft, LK) design, the Chinese Moon Lander utilizes a large separate booster that performs most of the descent burn and then detaches to crash into the Moon.
So, when Chinese, Russian or even Venezuelan astronauts go to the Moon — on September 13, Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro announced China would transport his astronauts to land on the Moon —, or when China sends large pieces of equipment, they could potentially “bomb” the Moon bases of the United States and its Artemis Accords partners.
This would be consistent with the CCP’s historic callous disregard for human life, but the PLA will already be placing surveillance, navigation and communication satellites around the Moon to strengthen its control, and to control the Moon programs of allied and partner nations.
What will the PLA do with Moon control?
In the September 2022 issue of the Chinese Journal of Deep Space Engineering, an article titled “Status and Prospects of Lunar-based Earth Observation Research,” suggests the placement of large radar on the Moon to monitor the Earth, Cislunar Space, and the Lagrangian Points, areas of equal gravitational pull around the Moon and Earth that are preferable to dominate as it is easier to station militarily useful satellites and bases in these areas.
To be sure, the CCP also expects to generate great wealth from future Moon programs. In 2018 Bao Weimin (包為民) of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) proposed an “Earth moon space economic zone” that by 2050 could be generating US$10 trillion.
But the CCP’s ambitions apparently will not be so limited.
During an August 16 forum in Beijing, another leading CASC expert Dr. Wang Wei (王巍) explained that since about 2019, CASC had been developing a 100-year program that would see Chinese settlements on Mars, asteroids, on other planetary bodies, and utilizing Lagrangian Points, to establish bases for water-ice to oxygen and fuel production that could span the solar system.
An article in China Space News quotes Dr. Wang as saying, “Just like the miracles created in the Age of Great Navigation, the ‘great space age’ with the development of space resources will create the next miracle in the history of human development and bring new prosperity to human civilization.”
But just ponder this: the CCP’s “next miracle in the history of human development” will be led by a regime that at a minimum has murdered 10 times as many people as did Adolf Hitler.
“Human civilization” should not be surprised that the CCP’s projection to the Moon, Mars, and the solar system will continue and intensify its war against liberal democracy and its penchant for mass murder, extreme social control, and barbaric practices like involuntary organ donation.
Also, in 100 years China and others may perfect nuclear and even more powerful space propulsion technology that could achieve realistic travel to nearby solar systems, potentially an even further projection of CCP power.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the same battle that “human civilization” will have to wage to prevent a new Dark Age of CCP hegemony on Earth will also extend to the cosmos as long as the CCP has the power to seek control of the Earth-Moon System and beyond.
A near term danger for the United States, Taiwan, and all allied democracies is that China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran are quickly aligning to potentially instigate decades of conflict on Earth that could severely decrease US and allied funding for Moon and space programs.
To avoid being outflanked in space, Washington and its allies have to work much harder to prevent Xi Jinping from deciding he can win his first war for global hegemony over Taiwan.
But as North Korea is getting ready to send millions of rounds of artillery and rocket artillery shells to Russia — just the first move as a “military reserve” that could also enable new Russian campaigns against Poland and the Baltics — the US and its allies are straining to supply the resistance to Russia in Ukraine and to build up to deter larger Russian wars.
China’s and now Russia’s demolishing of the military-economic embargoes placed on Pyongyang, so that it can soon even threaten the United States with an overwhelming nuclear first strike, demands that the Biden Administration reverse its refusal to produce new theater nuclear weapons that can deter Xi Jinping.
It is also necessary to inform the CCP leadership, in the decreasing number of meetings it allows, that should the PLA begin a war in space, the US and its allies will retaliate by attacking its ability to access space, by attacking PLA space facilities on Earth, from Wencheng to the SSF’s space tracking and control base in Argentina.
But the US can also do more.
It is time to affirm the projection of freedom into the cosmos by honoring a country like Taiwan by inviting a Taiwanese astronaut to join allies from Japan and Europe to participate in the US Artemis Program for Moon exploration.
This will help affirm to Taiwanese that their struggle for freedom on Earth matters, that they also have every right to seek their place in the future Space Economy.
Yes, the CCP will be offended and will make dire threats, but what more can it do than its current assault against “human civilization” in space by seeking to expand its hegemony over the solar system, and by rewarding murderers like Maduro with the privileges of space exploration.
Richard D. Fisher, Jr. is a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.
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