China will launch 12,992 satellites into orbit to rival SpaceX
Following the weaponization of space by the US through SpaceX in Ukraine, China has made the decision to rival Elon Musk's company.
Amid calls from the Chinese military community to accelerate the creation of a national network, China announced that it will launch 12,992 satellites into orbit. US media reported that these new satellites will rival Elon Musk's Starlink, which was launched through SpaceX and proved highly capable militarily in the Ukrainian conflict.
The Washington Post cited a Beijing academic familiar with the Chinese project as saying, "The Starlink constellation has finally shown its military colors in the Russia-Ukraine conflict."
Despite SpaceX having said, in February, that the technology was not supposed to be weaponized, the Ukrainian military admitted that it was using the previously dubbed civilian satellite program to live-stream drone feeds, improving artillery accuracy.
Most recently, in December of last year, China's fears were further triggered after SpaceX revealed the anticipated launch of a new project called Starshield, which Chinese researchers discovered would be as good as having installed a surveillance camera network around the globe.
According to the Washington Post, China has accelerated the Guowang project, the State Network, and explored defensive measures against "Starlink-type foreign satellites."
China condemns US' weaponization of space
After the Pentagon issued a new policy that makes space a "priority domain of national military power," China accused Washington of seeking to militarize outer space.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, spoke to reporters at a Wednesday briefing regarding Washington's directive in a newly-released document that it may start military operations in space.
“For a long time, the US has openly defined space as a war-fighting domain. It has built the US Space Force and Space Command, developed and deployed space-based offensive weapons, conducted offensive and defensive military exercises and technology tests, and intensified military cooperation with its allies,” Mao said, stressing that “this has heightened the risks of military miscalculation and conflict.”
The spokesperson, furthermore, accused Washington of blocking a "space arms control initiative" which was led by Russia and China, further increasing the possibilities of "turning outer space into a weapon and battlefield."
According to the new US directive, the Pentagon should “protect and defend the use of space for US national security purposes,” as well as “deliver advanced space capabilities to deter conflict and, if deterrence fails, to counter and defeat aggression.”
Regarding the document, Mao stressed that its implications pose "a grave challenge to the peace and security of outer space,” and “fully exposes the US ambition of increasing military build-up and war preparedness… in outer space.”
“The US should respect the shared concerns of the international community, immediately stop the negative moves that could undermine security of outer space, step up to its due responsibilities and stop hindering negotiations for a legal instrument on arms control in outer space,” she added.