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Congressional panel looks at national security implications of China’s space ambitions

Are the United States and China inevitably headed to a war in space? That was the central question posed by members of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission at a hearing on Thursday on Capitol Hill. In testimony, experts provided ample evidence of China’s space ambitions and cited the already well documented achievements of the Chinese space program. But while the professional consensus is that China is a rising space power with a growing arsenal of anti-satellite weapons, a future war in space is not a foregone conclusion, these experts argued. The commission was created by Congress in 2000 to investigate the national security implications of trade and the economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Commission Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew, noted that China is “serious about becoming a space power and is willing to commit the political will and funds” to dominate in space. So the question is how the United States should respond, she said. To prevent tensions from escalating, the United States should do more to protect its space systems and build capabilities as a form of deterrence, said Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.