Insight - Building Stronger U.S.-China Relations in Space
By Brian Weeden, Director of Program Planning
On January 11, 2007, China destroyed one of its aging weather satellites using a ground-based anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon. In the aftermath, there were debates by U.S. scholars and policymakers alike as to the motivation for the test, and what it meant for U.S. policy and strategy. One year later, the United States used a converted ballistic missile interceptor to destroy one of its own failed spy satellites in what was officially stated to be an act of public safety, but many saw as a public demonstration of its own capability. The two events reignited international and domestic debates over strategic stability and deterrence, space weaponization, and the potential for a space arms race.
Over the last several years, we at SWF have been working to try and foster stronger relations between the U.S. and China in space, in part to prevent an incident in space that could spark or escalate conflict on Earth. Part of our efforts have been focused on increasing dialogue between Chinese space experts and international experts. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, we partnered with Beihang University to hold a series of workshops in Beijing on space debris, space debris removal, and space sustainability. The goal of the workshops was to bring U.S. and international experts to China to exchange perspectives with their Chinese counterparts, and to encourage similar research and discussions within China...continue reading.