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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.