US general labeling China ‘most challenging threat’ an attempt to justify its own weaponization of space: analysts
Published: Feb 20, 2023 08:54 PM
A series of Chinese carrier rockets of the Long March family are on display in Haikou, South China's Hainan Province, on November 21, 2022, as the 2022 China Space Conference opens, drawing crowds of visitors. Photo: VCG

A series of Chinese carrier rockets of the Long March family are on display in Haikou, South China's Hainan Province, on November 21, 2022. Photo: VCG

US general Bradley Chance Saltzman's late Saturday remarks on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference labeling China as the "most challenging threat" sounds a warning that the US has pushed the hyping of the "China threat" theory to beyond Earth, and is only an attempt to find an excuse to make its space force even stronger. 

Space has "fundamentally changed" in a just a few years due to a growing arms race, the US chief of space operations told media late Saturday, while singling out China as the most challenging threat, followed by Russia, citing technologies including anti-satellite missiles, ground-based directed energy and orbit interception capacities, the AFP reported. 

Saltzman's words also came amid surging China-US tensions highlighted by tense exchanges in Munich Saturday between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, over the balloon row.

The US military is clearly demonizing China and hyping its military capabilities so that it will have imaginary enemies - China and Russia - to justify its increase of budget to build an even stronger space force, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Monday. 

It is almost inevitable to see that modern warfare will stress not only ground-, sea-, air- but also space dominance, and these are all part of the hegemony the US always pursues. The US is playing the trick of "a thief crying stop thief," as the Pentagon was the first to deploy a missile to destroy a satellite in a test as early as 1985 and launched its space force in 2019, an event that almost marked the beginning of a new space arms race, observers noted. 

The US should stop fueling the militarization and weaponization of outer space, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly urged, saying that space is a global public sphere and a key factor in humanity's security and wellbeing. Preventing a space arms race is an important prerequisite for ensuring peace, tranquility and sustainable use of outer space.

For a long time, the US has pursued a strategy of dominance in space and openly defined outer space as a war-fighting domain, and has been aggressively developing and deploying a variety of offensive outer space weapons such as directed energy weapons and its Counter Communications System, said then Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian in July 2022. He added that the US frequently held military drills and has advanced an all-round military buildup and preparedness in outer space. 

From NASA chief Bill Nelson to this high-ranking Pentagon official, the US is making round after round of "clichéd" accusations against China in the outer space domain, which reflects a lack of confidence and a dangerous, narrow Cold War mentality in the US, Chinese space watchers warned.