by WorldTribune Staff, January 12, 2023
When NASA Administrator Bill Nelson warned that China was intent on claiming the Moon as its territory, the communist regime in Beijing went into full diplomatic propaganda mode to deny it.
“The exploration and peaceful uses of outer space is humanity’s common endeavor and should benefit all,” said Liu Pengyu, a Chinese embassy spokesperson in Washington. “China always advocates the peaceful use of outer space, opposes the weaponization of and arms race in outer space, and works actively toward building a community with a shared future for mankind in the space domain.”
As is often the case, however, communist officials sound much differently “when they think no one is listening,” Gordon G. Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China”, wrote in a Jan. 9 analysis for Newsweek.
“The universe is an ocean, the moon is the Diaoyu Islands, Mars is Huangyan Island,” said Ye Peijian, the head of China’s lunar program, in 2017, referring to features in the East China and South China Seas to which Beijing claims sovereignty. “If we don’t go there now even though we’re capable of doing so, then we will be blamed by our descendants. If others go there, then they will take over, and you won’t be able to go even if you want to.”
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Chang noted: “Ye’s choice of examples is ominous, especially his comparison of the Moon to the Diaoyu Islands. The Diaoyus, in the East China Sea, have been claimed and are in fact administered by Japan, but China also claims the outcroppings. Periodically, Chinese vessels intrude into the territorial waters around the Senkakus, Tokyo’s name for the small islands, as a means of pressuring the Japanese to surrender them.”
Nelson has been clear about what he sees as a legitimate threat out of China: “We better watch out that they don’t get to a place on the Moon under the guise of scientific research. And it is not beyond the realm of possibility that they say, ‘Keep out, we’re here, this is our territory.’ ”
So, what does China want with the Moon?
If the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) can mine the Moon’s minerals, “it will have a head start in two critical economic projects,” according to Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center and contributing editor for Geostrategy-Direct.com.
First, China will gain an advantage in building space craft on the Moon, something Beijing has announced it intends to do.
“If China can achieve a more rapid exploitation of Moon resources, it will have a lead on building on the Moon the infrastructure for going to Mars,” Fisher told Chang.
Second, Fisher notes, China will be able to use its Moon resources to “more rapidly build massive space solar power stations to beam solar energy to Earth.”
Perhaps most importantly, control of the Moon, Fisher said, also confers control of “Cis-Lunar space, space between the Earth and the Moon.”
Control of that space would give a country the ability to shoot down or otherwise disable deep-space satellites, which are essential for early warning of ballistic missile attacks.
“From the moon, China can better surveil Cis-Lunar space and also station laser or missile systems to attack critical American satellites in deep space,” Fisher said.
Some say that it is impossible for China to take over the Moon because Article II of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits “national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.”
But the communist regime, “despite what some may think, is not particularly concerned about commitments it has made,” Chang noted.
Brandon Weichert, author of “Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower”, notes that China “is the world’s No. 1 treaty violator. It thinks nothing of ignoring, violating, or junking its international obligations, on the Moon, in deep space and lower-earth orbit, or anywhere else for that matter.”