China's increasing space operations could provide the nation with another tool for fending off U.S. efforts to use military power to preserve the autonomy of Taiwan, Reuters quoted a new report as saying (see GSN, May 26, 2010).
Beijing considers the self-governed island to be Chinese territory and has threatened armed action to defeat a bid for full Taiwanese independence. Washington is a major provider of military support for Taipei; U.S. legislation approved in 1979 said any act of aggression toward Taiwan would be "a threat to the peace and security of the Western Pacific area and of great concern to the United States" (see GSN, April 6).
"Taiwan remains the principle illustrative scenario guiding the [Chinese People's Liberation Army's] military ambitions in space," the Project 2049 Institute said.
One danger is that a growing number of Chinese orbiters with surveillance and other capabilities could monitor the movement of U.S. aircraft carriers or other "intervening U.S. forces" attempting to protect Taiwan, according to the report delivered to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Those U.S. military elements could then be targeted by Beijing's new antiship ballistic missiles (see GSN, March 19; Jim Wolf, Reuters, April 27).