Motives and Implications Behind China's ASAT Test01/25/2007 - By Kevin Pollpeter (from China Brief, January 24) - The United States government revealed on January 18 that the Chinese military had conducted an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test against an aging Chinese weather satellite. The satellite was destroyed on January 11 by a medium-range ballistic missile at an altitude of 537 miles above the earth’s surface. Despite Washington’s private consultations over the matter with Beijing before the announcement, the Chinese government waited five days after the announcement to officially confirm the test, stating that there are no plans to conduct a second test and that the “test was not targeted against any country and does not pose a threat to any country” (The Washington Post, January 23). The January 11 kinetic kill vehicle (KKV) test, coupled with the revelation last year that a U.S. satellite was “painted” by a Chinese ground-based laser presents unsettling questions about China’s commitment to arms control, the ramifications of its rise as a major power, its military posture and foreign policy toward the United States and civil-military relations in China.China’s Changed Stance on Space WeaponsChina’s ASAT test calls into question its longstanding opposition to space weapons. In the past, China has proposed a treaty language obligating countries “not to place in orbit around the earth any object carrying any kinds of weapon; not to deploy such weapons on celestial bodies nor station such weapons in outer space in any other manner; and not to resort to the threat or use of force against outer space objects” .Even as late as June 2006, Cheng Jingye, China’s Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, in a statement on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) at the United Nations Conference on Disarmament stated: “The deployment of weapons in outer space would bring unimaginable consequences. The outer space assets of all countries would be endangered, mankind's peaceful use of outer space threatened, and international peace and security undermined. It is in the interest of all countries to protect the humanity from the threat of outer space weapons.” Ambassador Cheng also equated the abolition of space weapons with the abolition of weapons of mass destruction .Interestingly, the first inkling that the Chinese had changed their position on space weapons may have come from their most recent defense white paper released in December 2006. The document failed to mention China’s opposition to space weapons as previous editions had. In its 2004 defense white paper, China stated, “Outer space is the common property of mankind. China hopes that the international community would take action as soon as possible to conclude an international legal instrument on preventing the weaponization of an arms race in outer space through negotiations, to ensure the peaceful use of outer space.” In its 2002 defense white paper, China was even more strident in its call for a ban on space weapons, stating: “the international community should negotiate and conclude the necessary legal instrument as soon as possible to prohibit the deployment of weapons in outer space and the use or the threat of use of force against objects in outer space.”The test also undermines China’s efforts at international space cooperation, especially in regards to space debris mitigation. China participates in the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee and published a Space Debris Action Plan to increase the safety of spaceflight, in particular the safety of its human spaceflight missions. One expert estimated that the test might have broken the satellite into 800 pieces measuring four inches wide or larger and millions of smaller pieces. Trackable debris resulting from a U.S. KKV test in 1985 took 17 years to completely deorbit and forced the United States to reconsider using “hard kill” methods due to the possibility of unintentionally damaging U.S. or third-party satellites (The New York Times, January 19). The ASAT test may have also setback efforts at U.S.-China space cooperation. A White House spokesperson seemed to hold out that possibility, stating, “We do want cooperation on a civil space strategy, so until we hear back from them or have more information, I don’t have any more to add” (AFP, January 19).Possible MotivesLacking an official explanation from the Chinese government, analysts are forced to divine Beijing’s motives. China’s actions do not appear to be aimed at coercing the United States to negotiate a space weapons treaty. If this were the case, it would seem that the Foreign Ministry would have issued a statement immediately following the test’s revelation. In fact, despite private consultations in Washington and Beijing prior to the U.S. announcement, the Foreign Ministry initially appeared ignorant of the matter. In contrast, when China detonated its first nuclear weapon in October 1964, its official statement read: "The Chinese Government hereby solemnly proposes to the governments of the world that a summit conference of all the countries of the world be convened to discuss the questions of the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons, and that as the first step, the summit conference conclude an agreement to the effect that the nuclear powers and those countries which may soon become nuclear powers undertake not to use nuclear weapons either against non-nuclear countries and nuclear-free zones or against each other" .The lack of coordinated action by the Chinese government suggests that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) either is acting alone in this matter or has such influence or acts with such little supervision that it can take significant actions without notifying other government organizations or even the top Chinese leadership. Interviews in Beijing by U.S. scholars strongly suggest, for example, that the PLA Navy did not tell the Foreign Ministry that it was planning to transit a Han-class nuclear submarine through Japanese waters in November 2004. The ASAT program may be too highly classified to have informed the Foreign Ministry about the test, and in the culture of extreme secrecy that permeates the Chinese government, it may be unwilling to even acknowledge the test.Indeed, U.S. officials have expressed concern that the delayed response from the Chinese government may indicate that even President Hu Jintao, who also serves as the head of the Central Military Commission, did not know about the test, or at the least did not know the specifics (The New York Times, January 19). Such a scenario presents troubling questions concerning civilian oversight of the PLA and the extent to which the PLA is its own powerbase.While the test may not have been a coordinated effort to coerce the United States to negotiate a space weapons treaty, it is possible that the test was a response to U.S. government and military statements advocating the development of space weapons. For some time now, Chinese authors have identified the United States as intent on developing space weapons (Jiefangjun Bao, February 7, 2001). Chinese strategists may believe that the United States already possesses space weapons or will eventually develop them regardless of Chinese actions, and that they must possess space weapons to conduct their own counterspace missions or create a deterrent against the U.S. use of space weapons. Therefore, the test should be viewed in a more military rather than a diplomatic context.Space Weapons’ Military UtilityA discussion of the military utility of space weapons for China must be prefaced with an explanation of how China views modern warfare. After Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the PLA became increasingly focused on the role of information in warfare and concluded that information superiority and denying information to adversaries are critical to winning modern wars. Indeed, the 2006 defense white paper states that enhancing the performance of the armed forces with “informationization” is the major criterion for measuring the development of the PLA.Space is recognized by Chinese authors as a main conduit for information collection and transmittal and Chinese “space cadets” have identified space as the premier dimension of war and one that must be controlled if victory on the ground is to be assured . Military writers have also identified the use of space by the United States as a potential Achilles heel. While the U.S. military is heavily reliant on space technology for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) functions; communications; and positioning, navigation, and timing, the fragility of space-based assets makes them vulnerable to attack.Chinese military writers have also concluded that the PLA cannot defeat the technologically superior and battle hardened U.S. military in a force-on-force battle. The PLA has thus been searching for asymmetric means of defeating the U.S. military. Part of this effort has included the search for “assassin’s mace” (sha shou jian) weapons. An assassin’s mace is a weapon that when used at a critical juncture against a strategic vulnerability, yields decisive results. Space weapons conform to this description. Chinese writings on information operations have identified eliminating adversary ISR capabilities at the beginning of a battle as critical to ensuring victory . In fact, the authors of one important book on military operations state that information operations both necessitate and facilitate “gaining mastery by striking first” and conclude that “to cripple or destroy the enemy’s information system would drastically degrade the enemy’s combat capabilities by making it blind, deaf or paralyzed” .By reducing the situational awareness of an enemy, the PLA can employ stratagems that deceive the enemy into implementing incorrect actions, which then set it up for eventual defeat. Consequently, the first strikes of a military conflict between the United States and China could occur in space.ConclusionChina’s ASAT test raises unsettling questions about China’s commitment to arms control, the ramifications of its rise as a major power, its military posture and foreign policy toward the United States and Chinese civil-military relations. Its secretive nature and hesitancy to admit to the test raises questions regarding whether China was ever serious about banning space weapons and whether it was actually engaging in “lawfare”—a strategy aimed at ensnaring the United States in legal commitments to which China never had the intention of abiding. Moreover, its official statements regarding the test only seem to add confusion to China’s stance on space weaponization. A Foreign Ministry spokesman stated that China “opposes weaponization and an arms race in outer space. Our position has not changed” (The Washington Post, January 23). Such actions also raise suspicions about China’s adherence to other arms control measures, such as its adherence to a similarly principled moratorium on nuclear testing.China’s test could also undermine its campaign to assuage concerns about its potential rise. Its space diplomacy has heretofore been exemplary and has managed to accentuate civil and commercial applications and international cooperation rather than national security issues. Moreover, world opinion has been overwhelming against U.S. policy toward space (China Brief, January 10). China has tried to reassure the international community that it “will not engage in any arms race or pose a threat to any other country,” but the ASAT test could send a signal that its outward diplomacy belies an inner aggressiveness, especially since the majority of countries oppose the weaponization of space . China’s test could also trigger the United States into developing space weapons and lead to an arms race in space.China’s delayed confirmation of the test also raises questions about the extent of President Hu’s power vis-à-vis the military and to what extent the military dictates policy. It is probable that Hu was aware of the ASAT program, even if not in detail. Chinese inaction also suggests, however, that Hu may yet need to consolidate his power within the PLA or has already given the PLA wide latitude and significant autonomy in conducting its own affairs.Finally, the test defies explanation in terms of the bilateral relationship. U.S.-China relations are at a high point and cross-Strait relations remain relatively stable. Yet, the ASAT test is just one of several provocative actions taken by China recently. In August 2006, National Reconnaissance Office Director Donald M. Kerr confirmed that a U.S. satellite had been painted by a Chinese laser, and in October 2006 Pacific Command Commander Admiral William J. Fallon confirmed that a Chinese Song-class submarine had surfaced within five miles of the carrier USS Kitty Hawk (The Washington Post, January 19; BBC, November 16, 2006). All incidents seem to send the message that the PLA has adopted a more aggressive posture toward the United States.While military issues are just one aspect of the overall relationship with China, its importance can have important spillover effects to the entire relationship. China’s ASAT test, coupled with other provocative actions, may play into the hands of those in the United States who believe security issues should play a stronger role in tempering U.S.-China relations—a consequence which China hopes to avoid. The test can be used to argue against greater positive-sum engagement with China and to counter claims that China is a more responsible stakeholder in the international arena. Unfortunately, it remains unclear whether the Chinese leadership even understands how poorly it has miscalculated.Kevin Pollpeter is China Program Manager at Defense Group Inc.’s Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis. Notes1. Conference on Disarmament, “Final Record of the Nine Hundred and Eighty-Eighth Plenary Meeting,” June 30, 2005.2. Statement on PAROS by H.E. Mr. Cheng Jingye, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Plenary of the Conference on Disarmament, June 8, 2006, accessed at http://www.china-un.ch/eng/xwdt/t257105.htm on January 20, 2007.3. Statement of the Government of the People's Republic of China," October 16, 1964, quoted in John Wilson Lewis and Xue Litai, China Builds the Bomb, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1988, p. 241-243.4. See, for example, Li Daguang, Space Warfare (Taikong zhan), Beijing: Military Science Press, 2001, p. 375-376.5. “Future Basic Methods of Our Army’s Information Warfare” (shilun weilai wojun xinxizhan de jiben yangshi), in Military Studies Editorial Department (junshi xueshu bianjibu), Research On Our Army’s Information Warfare Issues (wojun xinxizhan wenti yanjiu), Beijing: NDU Press, 1999, p. 2.6. Wang Houqing and Zhang Xingye et al., The Science of Campaigns (zhanyixue), Beijing: National Defense University Press, 2000, p. 95 and 178.7. PRC Information Office of the State Council, “China’s National Defense in 2006,” December 2006.
A China em, creio que, 5000 anos de história nunca foi um país que invadiu, ou fez guerra contra outros países.
Especialistas do exército chinês conseguiram entrar no sistema informático do Pentágono, noticia hoje o jornal Financial Times, com Washington a temer uma invasão grave nos sistemas do departamento de defesa norte-americano.O ataque informático chinês, que causou o encerramento do sistema informático do gabinete do Secretário da Defesa norte-americano, Robert Gates, aconteceu em Junho após vários meses de tentativas frustradas, reconheceram ao jornal Financial Times fontes anónimas do Pentágono, convictas de que a autoria do ataque pertence ao Exército de Libertação Popular da China (ELPC).Segundo o jornal, um responsável norte-americano disse haver uma «probabilidade muito elevada, a tender para a certeza total» de que a autoria dos ataques pertence ao exército chinês. «O ELPC demonstrou a sua habilidade para conduzir ataques que incapacitam o nosso sistema», acrescentou a mesma fonte do Pentágono. Esta capacidade dos técnicos chineses está a assustar os Estados Unidos e a aumentar as preocupações para um patamar mais elevado, devido aos receios de que a China possa entrar nos sistemas norte-americanos em tempos críticos, afirma o Financial Times. A espionagem informática é uma prática assumida pelos exércitos dos Estados Unidos e da China, que a praticam regularmente para tentar retirar informações privilegiadas e secretas. Na semana passada, o Der Spiegel noticiou que foram encontrados também programas de espionagem conduzidos por chineses no sistema informático do gabinete da chanceler alemã Angela Merkel, no Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros e em agências governamentais de Berlim. Lusa/SOL
A China negou na terça-feira a notícia de que o seu exército teria invadido com sucesso o sistema informático do Pentágono, nos EUA, classificando a acusação de «produto do pensamento da Guerra Fria». O jornal Financial Times, citando antigas e actuais autoridades norte-americanas, afirmou que hackers ao serviço dos militares chineses teriam atacado a rede do departamento de Defesa dos EUA em Junho, roubando dados e provocando o encerramento do sistema. A reportagem foi publicada uma semana após a chanceler alemã, Angela Merkel, ter feito reclamações similares. A China esquivou-se nessa altura e agora rejeita completamente as acusações dos EUA, assim como negou a notícia de que armas chinesas foram usadas por talibans no Afeganistão. «O governo chinês opõe-se constantemente e ataca vigorosamente de acordo com a lei todos os crimes via Internet, incluindo as invasões», afirmou a porta-voz do Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros, Jiang Yu.Diário Digital
O exército chinês elaborou um plano para tornar inoperante a frota de porta-aviões dos Estados Unidos através de cyber-ataques em caso de conflito militar, escreve hoje o diário britânico The Times, citando um relatório do Pentágono. Este projecto confirma as ambições de Pequim de estabelecer um «domínio electrónico» sobre os seus rivais até 2050, em especial os Estados Unidos, a Grã-Bretanha, a Rússia e a Coreia do Sul, afirma o jornal. O relatório do Pentágono mostra que a República Popular da China considera os cyber-ataques como um meio «crucial para tomar a iniciativa» aos primeiros momentos de uma guerra, assegura ainda o The Times. «A China tem a ambição de paralisar as capacidades financeiras e militares de um inimigo, assim como os seus sistemas de comunicações, logo desde o começo de um conflito», escreve o jornal. O Financial Times afirmara terça-feira que os militares chineses obtiveram êxito a piratear em Junho o sistema informático do Pentágono. A China desmentiu quinta-feira que o seu exército tenha efectuado ataques contra sistemas informáticos sensíveis de países estrangeiros. Diário Digital / Lusa
A França também foi alvo de ataques informáticos chineses, à semelhança do que aconteceu com os EUA e Alemanha, segundo a edição deste sábado do jornal parisiense Le Monde, que cita uma fonte do governo. Pequim nega os relatos da imprensa ocidental segundo os quais hackers chineses invadiram sistemas do Pentágono e do governo alemão, inclusive da sede do governo.Francis Delons, secretário-geral de Defesa Nacional de França, sob a alçada do gabinete do primeiro-ministro, disse ao Le Monde que o seu país também sofreu esse tipo de invasão.«Durante várias semanas, tive claras indicações de que a França não estava protegida de ataques (de hackers chineses)», disse Delon ao Le Monde. «Temos (notado) sinais de ataques que atingiram serviços controlados pelo governo. Podemos falar de um caso sério, (mas) não estou em posição de dizer que esses ataques partiram do governo chinês.» Diário Digital
Imagens tomadas por um satélite comercial revelam a existência no centro da China de um enorme área de disparo de mísseis de médio alcance, com capacidade para atingir a Rússia ou a Índia, anunciou hoje um cientista norte-americano. As imagens do Google Earth mostram umas sessenta plataformas de lançamento de mísseis e edifícios de comando e de controlo inseridos numa área enorme situada em Delingha, na província de Qinghai, segundo Hans Kristensen, da Federação dos cientistas norte-americanos.«Regularmente, o governo norte-americano expressa publicamente os seus receios por a China instalar novos mísseis móveis mas sem revelar pormenores. A descoberta desta área de lançamento oferece pela primeira vez ocasião para o grande público compreender melhor como é que a China gere os seus mísseis balísticos móveis», escreve.«A partir destas plataformas de lançamento, mísseis DF-21 chineses (balísticos, de médio alcance) podem cobrir um raio que inclui a Rússia e o norte da Índia (Nova Deli, incluída), mas não o Japão, Taïwan ou Guam», acrescentou.Esta descoberta ocorre menos de duas semanas depois de a revista britânica de Defesa Jane´s ter revelado uma nova base nuclear subterrânea em construção na ilha de Hainan, ao largo da costa meridional chinesa.A Jane's indicou dispor de imagens de satélite realizadas por DigitalGlobe e cuja análise confirma a existência desta base.As imagens do local de lançamento de mísseis estão publicadas no site da Federação dos cientistas norte-americanos na Internet. Lusa
Australian defence paper classifies China as strategic threatBy James Cogan16 April 2009Last Saturday, the Australian newspaper revealed that Mike Pezzullo, the senior bureaucrat overseeing the preparation of a new defence White Paper on behalf of the Rudd Labor government, rejected advice from two military intelligence agencies that China was unlikely to pose a threat to Australian interests in the next 20 years. The revelations have shed further light on a conflict within Australian ruling circles over how to respond to the decline of US imperialism and the associated rise of China’s geo-political influence in the region.The Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO) was the first agency asked by Pezzullo to file a report. According to the Australian, it described China’s military build-up, particularly the development of its naval forces, as a non-threatening “defensive” response to American naval power in the Pacific and judged that Beijing did not have “hegemonic” or “expansionist” ambitions.The estimate appears to have assumed that the United States would retain its overwhelming military superiority and its close security arrangements with Japan. Thus, even if China undertook a massive military expansion, it would still be incapable of challenging the combined strength of the US and its allies. The risk of a conflict between the US and China during the next 20 years was assessed as slim, with continuing US hegemony rendering any Chinese threat to Australian interests unlikely.The only country that could realistically invade the Australian continent, or threaten its maritime trade routes, the DIO concluded, was the United States itself. The agency therefore recommended that Australia’s military priorities should be to develop the capacity to contribute greater numbers of ground troops to US-led operations in various parts of the globe.According to the Australian, Pezzullo and the head of the armed forces, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, rejected these conclusions out-of-hand. They instructed the DIO to rewrite its report to stress that China might constitute a challenge to Australian strategic interests. When the DIO refused to reconsider, Pezzullo requested another agency, the Office of National Assessments (ONA), to conduct its own evaluation. The ONA came to the same findings as the DIO. Pezzullo decided to disregard both assessments and proceeded to draft the White Paper on the basis of his own estimates.The Australian commented: “[A]s a result, the country’s future defence force to be outlined in the White Paper will primarily be shaped by fears of Chinese military expansion”.On Wednesday, the Australian claimed that the White Paper contradicted not only the opinions of Australian agencies, but those of the US military as well. Australian officials were allegedly informed in Washington in May 2008 that US intelligence agreed with the conclusions reached by the DIO and ONA on China.In line with its estimate that the US is unlikely to confront a conventional military challenge in the foreseeable future, the Obama administration’s first defence budget has prioritised equipping the US military for lower-level “counter-insurgency” wars, such as those being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served in the same post in the final years of the Bush administration, has proposed scaling back purchases of the expensive stealth fighters and weapons systems that would be deployed in any full-scale confrontation with a major power like China.The White Paper, by contrast, will reportedly recommend an inward-looking build-up of Australia’s capabilities to defend the air and maritime approaches to the continent from a conventional enemy. Over the next 20 years, it will propose that more than $100 billion be spent acquiring a minimum of 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, at least 12 new submarines and additional frigates and destroyers.In 2006, Pezzullo spelt out his position: “If you configure your force structure for the preoccupations of the next couple of years, you would end up with a light-scale, almost gendarme [police force], with a heavy quotient of special forces undertaking Al-Qaeda manhunts. You have to keep your eye on the fact that we live in a predominantly maritime environment and state-on-state issues might well come back into play.”According to the Australian, ONA head Peter Varghese wrote a memo to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd expressing the opposition within the country’s intelligence agencies to Pezzullo’s strategic forecast and warning that Australian defence policy was being disorientated by the emphasis on a China threat. On Wednesday, the Rudd government announced that Varghese was “stepping down” when his appointment expired on June 13.References to China’s growing reach and capabilities will be used to justify a revamping of the Air Force and the Navy. The preoccupation with military self-sufficiency, however, flows as much from a forecast of US decline as it does from expectations of China’s rise. The new White Paper is predicated on the conception that Australian imperialism must prepare for the possibility that it will have to fend for itself.The fundamental strategic concerns underlying the White Paper were addressed in an April 11 column in the Australian by Hugh White, head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University and a defence advisor to the previous Coalition government. He wrote:“Just as Australia’s strategic outlook has been dominated for decades by American primacy in Asia, so in future it will be shaped more than anything else by what follows as America’s primacy fades and China’s grows.... The essential basis of any new understanding would be a more equal sharing of power. But is the US willing to treat China as an equal? And will China settle for anything less? And can either treat Japan as an equal? And will Japan—still a huge power—settle for less than China gets? Unless these questions can be answered, it is hard to see how escalating strategic competition can be avoided in the long term. That would pose all kinds of new strategic risks for Australia. Would we side with the US if it gets dragged into a confrontation and conflict with China? Or would we stand aside and see our alliance dwindle?”White concluded: “When Britain’s power declined in the late 19th century and when modern Asia appeared after World War II, Australia remade its place in the world to meet the new conditions. We face a similar challenge today and the new White Paper is an important opportunity to start addressing it...”The revelations about the White Paper follow the controversy earlier this month over the long-standing friendship between Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and a wealthy Chinese-Australian businesswoman with access to senior Chinese government officials. Allegations surfaced that an official from another intelligence agency, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD), illegally hacked into Fitzgibbon’s personal computer files to try and locate evidence that the relationship constituted a “national security risk”. The Rudd government was subsequently accused by opposition politicians of being too close to China, Australia’s fastest growing trading partner and potential source of significant investment.The White Paper and Fitzgibbon affairs are directly related. Both result from conflicts within the Australian defence establishment over the Labor government’s tentative moves to reduce Australia’s reliance on the US. While still asserting the paramount importance of the American alliance, the faction of the Australian financial and corporate elite represented by Rudd are leaning toward the adoption of a more independent stance in the Asia-Pacific region.Since World War II, the ability of the Australian ruling elite to assert its considerable economic and strategic interests in the region has, to a great extent, depended upon the US alliance. In return, Australian governments have sent troops to successive US-led neo-colonial wars—from Korea and Vietnam, to the 1991 Gulf War and the more recent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Diplomatically, Canberra has walked in lockstep with the US on virtually every significant global issue.What is now underway is a reconsideration of the US-orientated foundations of Australian foreign policy. In a major speech last year, Rudd suggested that Canberra should function as a third-party conciliator in disputes between the US, China and other major powers, with the aim of preventing such conflicts from escalating and causing disruptions to trade and commerce. The White Paper reflects growing fears that, in the event this strategy fails, major power rivalries will once again plunge the Asia-Pacific region into the nightmare of military conflagration.
A China também só se tornou uma grande potencia desde a chegada dos comunistas ao poder porque até lá fartou-se de levar na boca de toda a gente, europeus, americanos, japoneses.