GOP Concerns About China-Russia Military Space Cooperation

Image: House Armed Services Committee

Russia is seeking more cooperation with China on military space weapons—and some members of Congress are already speaking out about the proposed partnership.

Some context: Last week, Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke with the Chinese military’s second in command about expanding cooperation between the two nations on military satellites and other defense capabilities in orbit, the AP reported

“I mean space, including high-orbit assets, and new prospective types of weapons that will ensure strategic security of both Russia and the People’s Republic of China,” Putin said in televised remarks ahead of a meeting with Gen. Zhang Youxia.

Russia and China already have a close relationship in other sectors of the space domain. Moscow is partnering with Beijing on the International Lunar Research Station, a planned base on the Moon’s surface. 

The reaction: Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, quickly released a statement saying that the proposal to increase cooperation between Moscow and Beijing should spur lawmakers to prioritize strengthening America’s space capabilities.

“The possibility of Russia and China joining forces against us in space is only the latest example of why we must continue our efforts to strengthen and expand our space capabilities,” Rogers said. “We must ensure freedom of action in space and counter efforts by those like China and Russia who seek to attack our forces in and through space.”

On the debate stage: Some GOP presidential hopefuls also publicly worried about China’s military space advancements. On Wednesday, Nikki Haley called for America to strengthen its military space capabilities to effectively counter China’s advancing tech in orbit.

“China has built up their military. It’s not just land, air, and sea. They’re doing cyber, they’re doing artificial intelligence, they’re doing space,” she said. “America needs to modernize our military. We need to do everything we can.” 

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