BEIJING (AP) — Amid a freeze in military-to-military contacts, China is accusing the United States of militarizing outer space, a day after it protested the passage of a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon anti-submarine aircraft through the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Col. Tan Kefei said on Friday that U.S. actions, including the establishment of the Space Force in 2019 as the newest branch of the military, have “had a great negative impact on space security and global strategic stability.”
“In recent years, the United States has accelerated the militarization of space,” Tan said. “I would like to reiterate here that China adheres to the peaceful use of space, firmly opposes the weaponization and the making of space into a battlefield, and opposes any form of arms race in space.”
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The ministry said that Tan was responding to recent concerns expressed by Space Force leaders over China’s rising capabilities, calling that “classic cognitive dissonance.” China’s advances in space include its own orbiting space station and plans for a crewed lunar mission. In 2007, it faced international condemnation after using a missile to blow up one of its defunct weather satellites, leaving a field of debris that continues to threaten other objects in orbit.
While the U.S. has sent officials to Beijing including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, ties remain at a historic low. China has pointedly refused to re-establish contact between the two militaries, possibly as a protest against U.S. sales of defensive weaponry to Taiwan and sanctions against Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu.
From the archives (January 2020): Trump unveils Space Force logo — and it looks a lot like the Star Trek…