China's technology for space debris clean-up could be a cover, Pentagon warns

China Russia pose challenge to US space capabilities Pentagon

"A new Pentagon report on threats in space warns that China and Russian Federation are both developing capabilities to threaten the US" preeminent position, including lasers that could target and destroy United States satellites.

Both countries "are developing a variety of means to exploit perceived USA reliance on space-based systems and challenge the US position in space", the report said.

The agency, the Defense Department's in-house intelligence operation, warned that lasers that could damage US satellites were of particular concern.

Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as important to modern warfare and counter space capabilities as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness, the Pentagon said in a report released by the Defense Intelligence Agency. Space's role in commercial and civilian applications is growing, and it is absolutely vital to employing the USA military, DIA officials noted. If the USA side truly cares about the security of outer space, it should work with China and actively participate in the arms control process of outer space.

"Both states are developing jamming and cyberspace capabilities, directed energy weapons, on-orbit capabilities and ground-based antisatellite missiles that can achieve a range of reversible to non-reversible effects", said the report.

Asked if the U.S.is now in a space race with Russian Federation and China, the defense official said, "We certainly recognize this as a competition".

"These capabilities provide their militaries with the ability to command and control their forces worldwide with enhanced situational awareness, enabling them to monitor, track and target United States and allied forces", it said.

Space is the common property of all mankind, not the private property of the Americans, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing.

China's intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and remote sensing (ISR) satellite fleet contains more than 120 systems - second only to the US.

"The advantage that the United States holds in space - and our perceived dependence on it - will continue to drive actors to improve their abilities to operate in and through space", the report says.

This capability supports both space operations and counter space systems, it said.

"As the number of satellites grows, so does the threats posed by space debris", the official said. The agency goes on to claim that the Chinese military is probably attempting to build a laser weapon system that can "disrupt, degrade, or damage", orbital satellites and the sensors they use. "That makes tracking satellites and discriminating satellites from threats and nonthreats and predicting and preventing collisions more challenging".

Space has had a profound impact on the military, the official added, allowing American service members to anticipate threats, respond to crises and to project power globally with fewer troops deployed and less collateral damage.

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