When it comes to the heightened rivalry between the United States and China, the sky is by no means the limit.

As the two countries vie for economic, technological, geopolitical, and even ideological superiority on Earth, space has become a natural extension – and a crucial frontier – in their great competition for power.

And due to the inherent dual-use nature of space technologies, the stakes go far beyond mere scientific prestige and global reputation. In addition to national defense, much of our life on Earth – from digital communications to navigation – depends on satellites in space.

Following the demise of the Soviet Union’s space program, the United States experienced a period of unprecedented leadership in space. But in recent years, US observers and politicians have warned that US dominance may soon be challenged by China’s rapidly growing space capabilities.

This concern only deepened with a series of significant and high-level Chinese achievements: in 2019, it became the first country to land on the other side of the moon; last year, it successfully put its latest Beidou satellite into orbit, paving the way to challenge the US Global Positioning System (GPS); and last month, it became the only country after the United States to install a working rover on Mars.

This particular breakthrough prompted new NASA administrator Bill Nelson to warn of US complacency with China’s space ambitions. At a House hearing last month, he presented an image taken by the Chinese rover on Mars, described as a “very aggressive competitor” to China, and lobbied Congress to fund NASA’s plans aimed at bringing humans back to the moon.

Despite its progress, Chinese space technology still lags behind the United States. But China’s space program enjoys the political and monetary backing of the ruling Communist Party, which sees its success as a key measure of its intentional stance and national legitimacy.

Last week, the US-China space competition entered a new phase when three Chinese astronauts arrived at the country’s still-under-construction space station for a three-month stay. The only other space station in orbit is the International Space Station (ISS), a US-led collaboration with Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.

Over the past 23 years, the ISS has been visited by more than 200 astronauts from 19 countries except China. Since 2011, NASA has been effectively banned from cooperating with China after Congress passed the Wolf Amendment due to espionage concerns.
This exclusion has at least in part prompted Beijing to build its own space station, the Tiangong, which is expected to be completed by the end of next year – two years before the ISS is decommissioned in 2024. If the United States- The United States and its international partners do not decide to extend the operational life of the ISS, China’s Tiangong space station may soon become the only manned outpost in orbit – the one that US law prohibits NASA astronauts from leaving. rejoin.

While the ISS was primarily a US-Russian company born out of the ashes of the Cold War, China’s Tiangong is being built amid talks of a new Cold War. And it is likely that in the years to come, alliances in space will increasingly reflect geopolitical lines on Earth.

Already, Chinese space officials have made it clear that they want to welcome foreign astronauts aboard its space station once the operation is over. China is also teaming up with Russia to build a joint research station on the moon’s south pole by 2035, a facility that will be open to international participation.
The United States, meanwhile, is building its own international coalition to establish basic principles for safe and responsible lunar explorations. The Artemis Agreements, released by NASA in May last year, have been signed by 12 countries, including the United States and key allies such as Britain, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. South Korea.

Neither China nor Russia are signatories.

Photo of the day

Relive the “red” memories: A group of visitors wear Chinese Red Army uniforms on Sunday as they tour the Chinese Revolutionary Museum in Hong’an City. Hong’an, a former revolutionary base of the ruling Communist Party, is one of the so-called “red sites” that has grown in popularity as the Party’s centenary approaches on July 1.

Australia takes wine feud with China to World Trade Organization

Australia is stepping up its trade struggle with China.

The country said at the weekend it is filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Beijing’s decision to impose massive taxes on Australian wine.

While Australia’s trade and agriculture ministers said the country “remains open to engage directly with China to resolve this issue,” they added in a statement on Saturday that the government “will continue to vigorously defend the interests of Australian winegrowers “.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It’s not really clear that the complaint will get Australia what it wants. Such disputes can take months to resolve, and past WTO rulings have often been difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

In December, Australia asked the WTO to review China’s tariffs on Australian barley, which is still under review.

But wine taxes – which range from 116% to 218% – are clearly causing enormous pain to winemakers across the country. China is their main export market, and some winegrowers have already lamented to CNN Business the hundreds of thousands of bottles left piled up on pallets in their warehouses.

“It hurts us tremendously,” South Australian winemaker Jarrad White told CNN Business earlier this year, before the role became permanent. “We had a lot of supplies to pay for and all these orders that needed to be shifted, so that left us in a tight spot.”

Wine is a tiny fraction of what Australia trades with China. The industry accounted for less than 1% of the total value of Australian exports to China in 2019, according to the Economic Complexity Observatory.

But while tensions between the two countries remain high, the plight of Australian winegrowers has come to symbolize the collateral damage of the escalating trade dispute.

–By Jill Disis

Around asia

  • A coach from the Ugandan Olympic team tested positive for Covid-19 upon arriving in Tokyo on Saturday evening, Japanese officials said.
  • The United States has shipped 2.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Taiwan, tripling more than its initial commitment as the island battles a spiraling epidemic and resists pressure from Beijing to take local vaccines from China.
  • Meanwhile, in China, more than a billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered on Saturday, an astonishing step that comes as the country rolls out an unprecedented vaccination campaign.

Hong Kong is seeking “greater integration” with mainland China, but at what cost?

On Sunday in Beijing, Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam said she wanted to strengthen the city’s reputation as a global financial hub through greater integration with mainland China, thanking the Chinese government for helping restore “stability” to Hong Kong.

But many wonder if this so-called stability has cost too much.

Since the passage of national security legislation in June 2020, Hong Kong has seen mass arrests of pro-democracy politicians and journalists, eroding the city’s once high degree of autonomy from Beijing.
The city’s hugely popular anti-Beijing tabloid Apple Daily is said to be on the verge of collapse after the newspaper’s bank accounts were reportedly frozen under the National Security Act. The move follows a police raid on the newsroom last week, in which editors and senior executives were arrested and journalistic material seized.
At the same time, there has been a constant crackdown on civil liberties. On Sunday, for the first time in 18 years, the Hong Kong Civil Human Rights Front announced it would not hold its annual July 1 protest, saying police were likely to deny them permission to organize the ‘event.
And in a sign that Hong Kong is no longer seen as a safe space for dissent against Beijing, Taiwan announced that it would remove all non-local staff from its office in the city. Taipei has accused the Hong Kong government of asking its Taiwanese staff to sign a document recognizing Beijing’s claim to the autonomous island as a prerequisite for visa renewals.

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