China's Space Capabilities

When: Monday, September 19, 2011

Where: Radio Broadcast

There is much confusion about China's actual space capabilities and intentions. The recent release of the Pentagon's annual report to the U.S. Congress on China -- Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China -- highlights China's growing military power and how much U.S. policy-makers are focused on this issue. China certainly has major space capabilities - it is one of only three countries that have an independent capability to place its own citizens into Earth orbit. Most notably, in 2007, China conducted an anti-satellite weapon test, one that created a large cloud of space debris that will threaten working satellites for many years.

Policy-makers should examine China's capabilities in their proper regional and international context. Both the attention that the Pentagon and Congress pays to China, as well as the increased importance of space to U.S. national and economic security, indicates the need for the United States to engage with China over outer space priorities.

We expect that our experts, all extremely knowledgeable about China's space program specifically and Asian space efforts in general, can help clear up many misunderstandings and promote a more balanced discussion as to how the United States should deal with China. As the White House 2010 National Space Policy points out, one of the goals for the United States in space is to "Expand international cooperation on mutually beneficial space activities." In doing so, that policy's intent is to "broaden and extend the benefits of space; further the peaceful use of space; and enhance collection and partnership in sharing of space-derived information." The United States no longer can afford to go it alone in space. Even if we could, because of the special physics of the space environment, the actions by one country can affect the ability of all to use space. It is only by reaching out to other major space-faring nations that the United States can encourage the long-term sustainable use of outer space.

Experts are: Dr. Ray Williamson, Executive Director, Secure World Foundation Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese, Professor, Naval War College Dr. Gregory Kulacki, Senior Analyst, China Project manager, Union of Concerned Scientists Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Ms. Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation. For booking information for radio interviews, please contact the Mainstream Media Project at

Last updated on December 11, 2013