28 June 2011. Issue 48 of the "ESPI Perspectives" series examines the policy motives and strategic rationale behind the Chinese national security space programme and attempts to evaluate its long term implications for Europe.
Many conjectures regarding the political and strategic objectives of the Chinese space programme emerged from the recent essays conducted by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). According to some observers, these tend to suggest that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is not only making technological leaps forward, but is also clearly pursuing the development of the military axis of its space activities. Although legitimate concerns might result from the repeated ASAT tests and other demonstrations operated by the PLA, it should be reminded that the lack of information regarding Chinese space policy imposes us to be very careful when evaluating the future of China in space. The aim of this issue of the ESPI Perspectives’ series is to offer a balanced analysis of the Chinese space programme by examining some governance and policy aspects related to the country’s space activities. Finally, it will scrutinise as far as possible the future of the Chinese space programme, in order to understand how China could challenge the established leading technological powers.
Alain De Neve, author of “ESPI Perspectives 48”
Alain De Neve is currently a Research Fellow at the Centre for Security and Defence Studies (CSDS) of the Royal Higher Institute for Defence (RHID), specialised in defence technology issues, and a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL). He is also a Research Associate at the Centre for International Crisis and Conflict Studies (CECRI) at UCL and member of the Multidisciplinary Network for Strategic Studies (Réseau Multidisciplinaire d’Etudes Stratégiques – RMES).