September 8, 2008

China: ASAT test II?

Recall January 11, 2007? China became the third nation after the United States and Russia, to carry out an anti-satellite (ASAT) operation successfully by destroying an aging low-earth orbiting weather satellite. Rumors abound that a second test is imminent.

OK, we are deep into rumour territory here, but Steve Clemons of The Washington Note is pretty reliable, and he's hinting that another trusted blogger, Jeffrey Lewis of Arms Control Wonk, will soon report that 'China may be getting ready to mimic something that the US stupidly did recently in the high skies.' That can surely only mean another test of China's anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon, with the 'mimicking' a reference to the US shootdown of a falling intelligence satellite in February.

Needless to say, this would be really bad news for a number of reasons, but let's leave the analysis until the test actually happens. There's nothing on Arms Control Wonk yet, but keep your eye out. Remember, Jeffrey Lewis broke the story of China's first successful ASAT test in January 2007.

(Via: The Interpreter)

In March we asked, “How long before China’s might develops into an effective bargaining chip in negotiations with the West? ASAT tests, moreover successful ones, may result in a burgeoning industrial scientific complex set to stimulate China’s hi-tech industrial base and education programs, much like America’s space program did in the sixties and seventies.

Let's wait and see if Jeffrey Lewis is right again ...

7 comments:

Jeffrey said...

False alarm.

Although I believe that USA 193 gave China a ready made excuse in the event that it chooses to resume ASAT testing, Steve jumped the gun. There are always rumors about impending Chinese ASAT tests, but I don't have anything specific and credible to report. Steve and I had a long conversation last week in the context of a project proposal we are preparing in which I mentioned preparing for strategic surprises ... like another ASAT test. I've heard rumors, of course, but I hear rumors all the time.

When I have something solid, you'll see it on my blog.

Jeffrey Lewis

AI said...

Thanks for addressing this Jeffrey ...

~Otto

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The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

China is on the brink of becoming a major player in the arms both conventional, technological and nuclear. They are where the US was about 20 years ago in many respects and their advancment is moving at about five years for every calendar year.

They are already very dangerous and that advancement has them less than a decade of becoming a super power.

MK said...

Yeah i heard the other day that China is modernizing its military and navy. Investing heavily in submarines, nuclear powered ones at that. Most worrying indeed. Apparently by 2020, the whole asia/pacific region will be changed.

AI said...

It's sure heading that way MK, thanks for coming by

AI said...

Liberal Lie Conservative Truth:

Thank you Ken...

No nation has risen to a status of great power as rapidly as China has in all aspects. From cruise missiles to subs, satellites to cluster bombs.

The evidence is there for all to note; double-digit increases in military spending since 1989 ...