As with all things that require vast amounts of manpower and capital, the Chinese are making swift advances in their space program. Despite threatening nearly the entire planet with a falling space station and dropping mysterious surveillance devices onto villages, the Chinese are on their way to becoming global leaders in space exploration. Chinese scientists recently developed plans to ‘colonize’ the moon with silkworms and launch a giant space laser into orbit – you know, for “peaceful” stuff. With all of this growth in their space program, it’s natural that the Chinese might be up to some more shadowy operations behind the scenes. Aren’t we all?
Whatever the Chinese are doing in Vanuatu, it’s got its neighbors spooked. Diplomats from Australia and New Zealand have expressed concern over a growing Chinese military presence on the small island nation. The Sydney Morning Herald notes that “access to open ocean can be useful for testing missile and space capabilities” and that “a future naval or air base in Vanuatu would give China a foothold to coerce Australia, outflank the US and its base on US territory at Guam, and collect intelligence in a regional security crisis.”
However, while many outlets are focusing on the militaristic advantages offered by a South Pacific base, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post recently ran an opinion piece pointing out that the rumored Chinese military installation on the island nation of Vanuatu might actually be some sort of mysterious space monitoring station. Just what are the Chinese up to in Oceania?
According to Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming, the base will likely be for used for rocket test flights and other aerospace experiments:
China needs a space control station in the South Pacific because it is going to launch more heavy rockets. The speculation is understandable because whatever projects China sets up overseas now, people will imagine it is going to be a military base, especially since space projects are carried out by the Chinese military.
Zhou points out that given China’s ambition to launch a manned lunar mission in the 2030s, it makes sense for them to establish a space base over open ocean where they won’t have to drop their rocket boosters onto unfortunate villages. What might this base foreshadow about the looming war in space?