Los Angeles Times
April 10, 2007
Exercise showed ability to blind U.S. satellites that would help defend the island, study says.
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON — China's anti-satellite test in January increased the country's military threat to Taiwan by demonstrating a limited ability to blind the U.S. satellites that would be deployed in defense of the island, according to a report by an independent private research group to be released today.
"The test is a vivid example of how China's emerging military capabilities will complicate the strategic environment confronting U.S. forces for decades to come," says the study sponsored by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. The report is titled "U.S.-China Relations: an Affirmative Agenda, a Responsible Course."
In the January test, China used a missile to destroy one of its weather satellites in low polar orbit, the first time Beijing had successfully tested an anti-satellite system. Three months after the exercise, the report says, the government's motives are unclear.
China waited almost two weeks before publicly acknowledging the test. "China opposes the weaponization of space and any arms race," a government spokesman said, adding that Beijing would not participate in a space arms race. "The test is not targeted at any country and will not threaten any country."
Although China can damage Taiwan with missiles, the study says, "it can only take and hold Taiwan if it can win and sustain control of the space, air and waters around Taiwan — a difficult task without U.S. intervention, and nearly impossible should the United States intervene in a China-Taiwan war."
Co-chairs for the report were Carla Hills, a former U.S. trade representative, and Dennis Blair, former president and chief executive of the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federally funded research center.
The study says China is also developing strategies to protect its growing global interests that pose challenges for the U.S.
"China does not need to surpass the United States, or even catch up with the United States, in order to complicate U.S. defense planning or influence U.S. decision-making in the event of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait or elsewhere," the study says.
China considers Taiwan a rogue province.
The report adds that there is no evidence that China will become a military peer of the United States within the next two decades.