China Wants To ‘Occupy the Moon,’ NASA Chief Warns

China Previously Identified the US as the Biggest Threat

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has publicly narrated a space version of the “China-threat theory.” He recently stirred up fear in an interview for the German tabloid Bild over concerns of China “taking over” the moon.

“NASA Chief Sounds the Alarm: Chinese Want To Occupy the Moon.” That’s how Bild’s website headlined its interview with Nelson on July 2. Nelson admonished, “We must be very concerned that China is landing on the moon and saying, ‘it’s ours now and you stay out.’”

Nelson also claimed that “China’s space program is a military space program.” When asked about what military goals China might pursue in space, Nelson declared, “Well, what do you think is happening on the Chinese space station? They are learning how to destroy other people’s satellites.”

This is not the first time that the NASA administrator has hyperbolized the U.S.-China “space race” and accused China of stealing technology. U.S. websites SpacePolicyOnline and Interesting Engineering reported that at the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee hearing on May 17, Nelson, who was desperate for funding, exaggerated matters, claiming that China and the U.S. had already entered the space-race era and saying of the Chinese, “They are pretty good at stealing” U.S. space technology.

In response, a Chinese aerospace expert told the Global Times time that this rather unexceptional NASA chief is narrow-minded; despite strong bans by the U.S. on bilateral space cooperation with China, our country has advanced space achievements beyond those of the U.S. China’ space technology development has been wholly independent and self-reliant. Deng Yulin, an academician at the U.N.-recognized International Academy of Astronautics in Paris, believes that Nelson’s exaggerated U.S.-China space race rhetoric is dual-purposed. On the one hand, NASA wants Congress to open its wallet. On the other hand, the U.S. is obviously feeling under pressure to create a counternarrative because China’s space programs are advancing too rapidly: China’s large-scale space programs have a high success rate and are immensely unique and innovative.

The U.S. has been weaving a narrative about threats posed by China and Russia in outer space to justify its own military buildup and has ambitions for hegemony in space. It is just another manifestation of the entrenched Cold War mentality of the U.S. and its deflection of responsibility.

Deputy Director of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Information Department Zhao Lijian emphasized that it is the U.S. that represents the top threat to security in outer space. After openly defining space as a a new battle frontier, the U.S. government has been accelerating efforts to develop the U.S. Space Force and U.S. Space Command, investing heavily on developing and deploying space weapons. Although the U.S. already has thousands of satellites in orbit, it is still constantly launching new ones of every type, including those for military reconnaissance. The U.S. military invests heavily in many commercial space projects and purchases billions of dollars’ worth of commercial satellite services for military purposes. At the same time, the U.S. has long obstructed negotiation for a space arms control treaty. The U.S. has become the greatest impediment to avoiding a space arms race. Zhao stated, “China always advocates for the peaceful exploration of space, opposes its weaponization and actively works toward building a community with a shared future for mankind there. China’s space exploration is also about meeting our country’s legitimate economic, social, scientific and security needs.”

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