Experts Warn CCP Space Program Is ‘Direct Military Threat’

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The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) activities in outer space present a unique threat to international security that U.S. leadership and the public are only starting to fully appreciate, experts say. Of key importance are the CCP’s blurring of civil and military pursuits and its efforts to exploit U.S. satellite networks.

Central to the CCP’s attempts to dominate space is its national strategy of military–civil fusion, in which the regime seeks the wholesale erosion of any barrier between the civilian and military domains.

The military–civil fusion strategy aims to transform the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into the world’s preeminent military force by 2049, the centennial anniversary of communist rule on the Chinese mainland, and its implementation is directly overseen by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, according to the U.S. State Department.

The PLA maintains near-total oversight of all aspects of CCP space programs as part of the fusion strategy. This includes the employment of all Chinese astronauts (taikonauts) and the operation of satellite networks.

CCP research or commercial efforts in space are therefore likely to augment the military missions.

No Civil–Military Divide

Li Xiaobing, professor of history, and Don Betz, endowed chair of international studies at the University of Central Oklahoma, spoke to the challenges of thinking about the CCP in terms of separate military and civilian sectors and the problems posed internationally by such a strategy.

“It’s hard to separate because it’s a different system,” Li told The Epoch Times. “In the West, especially in the U.S., you’ve got a private sector and the government. But in China, the government runs both the civilian and commercial sectors and the government sector.

“The civil-military relationship in China is integrated so that it’s a double-function space program for both commercial and military purposes at the same time.”

That double function makes assessing the potential security threat of any given CCP space program difficult, according to Li, as it creates a certain ambiguity as to whether it’s the military or civilian function that’s intended to be dominant.

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