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US concerned over China's growing space-related capabilities

WASHINGTON (PTI): The US has said China could use it's growing space-related capabilities to gain diplomatic advantage over other nations, "possibly" against America's national security interests as well.

"China's modernised military, and especially its space-related capabilities, could be put to use in ways that increase China's ability to gain diplomatic advantage or resolve disputes in its favour, and possibly against US national security interests," said a US report.

The National Security Report on Revising US Export Controls on Satellites, by the State Department and the Department of Defence, said China was developing and testing several new classes and variants of "offencive" missiles, upgrading older missile systems, and developing space-based methods to counter ballistic missile defences of the US and its allies, including anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons.

"China produces a broad range of sophisticated ballistic, cruise, air-to-air, and surface-to-air missiles. Many of China's final assembly and rocket motor production facilities have received upgrades over the past few years, likely increasing production capacity.

"In addition to supplying China's military, complete systems and missile technologies could be marketed for export.

China's space launch vehicle industry is expanding to support satellite launch services and the manned space programme," it said.

Foreign and indigenous systems give China the capability to "jam" common satellite communications bands and Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) receivers, specifically, the Chinese navigation constellation, the report said.

"For example, in September 2010, Chi Tong Kuok was convicted for conspiracy to export US military encryption technology illegally to China via Hong Kong. The relevant technology included encryption, communications equipment, and GPS equipment used by US and NATO forces," said the report.

"Economic espionage, supported by extensive open-source research, computer network exploitation, and targeted intelligence operations also enables China to obtain technologies to supplement indigenous military modernisation efforts".

It said official agencies have identified at least 26 major cases since 2006 linking China to the acquisition of controlled power amplifiers with military applications, space launch technical data and services, Delta IV rockets, information related to cruise missile design, and military grade accelerometers.

"China's continuing efforts to acquire US military and dual-use technologies are enabling China's science and technology base to diminish the US technological edge in areas critical to the development of weapons and communications systems. Additionally, the technologies China has acquired could be used to develop more advanced technologies by shortening Chinese R&D cycles," it added.


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