China’s strategy for developing advanced space weapons were disclosed this week in Beijing’s first defense white paper issued in years.
The defense strategy report produced by the People’s Liberation Army was made public Wednesday and drops earlier veiled references by bluntly identifying the United States as Beijing’s main adversary that is undermining world peace.
The report—part policy statement and part propaganda—also claims the United States seeks “absolute military superiority.”
“The U.S. has adjusted its national security and defense strategies, and adopted unilateral policies,” the report said. “It has provoked and intensified competition among major countries, significantly increased its defense expenditure, pushed for additional capacity in nuclear, outer space, cyber and missile defense, and undermined global strategic stability.”
Chinese propaganda outlets sought to portray the white paper as furthering Beijing’s questionable assertion that the large-scale buildup of conventional, nuclear, space, and cyber weapons poses no threat.
The white paper, however, bluntly warned that China is set to use military force against Taiwan if the self-ruled island seeks formal independence. Taiwan is a quasi-U.S. ally and the United States is obligated under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act to defend it from mainland attack.
Beijing, in another threatening announcement, said this week the PLA is prepared to dispatch forces to Hong Kong, the former British colony that has been rocked by anti-Beijing protests over a new extradition law seeking to undermine democratic rule.
On space warfare, the PLA report states that threats to space “loom large” and as a result space security is now among eight vital Chinese strategic interests.
Other key interests include deterring attacks, opposing Taiwan independence, and “safeguarding national political security”—a reference to the PLA’s ultimate mission of keeping the ruling Communist Party of China in power.
“Outer space is a critical domain in international strategic competition,” the report said.