| WASHINGTON, April 27
WASHINGTON, April 27 China's growing
capabilities in space could undercut any U.S. military response
if Beijing resorted to force to bring self-ruled Taiwan into its
fold, a study released Friday by a congressionally mandated U.S.
China's military is rapidly boosting its space programs to
advance Communist Party interests "and defend against perceived
challenges to sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the
84-page report by the Project 2049 Institute, a research group
on Asia-Pacific security issues.
China has claimed Taiwan as its own since the end of the
Chinese civil war in 1949 and has vowed to bring the island
under mainland rule, by force if necessary.
Washington, under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, considers
any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by "other than
peaceful means ... a threat to the peace and security of the
Western Pacific area and of grave concern to the United States."
The study said China's growing push in military space
programs "may complicate U.S. freedom of action in the
Asia-Pacific region" for instance, because Beijing can use its
satellites to track U.S. aircraft carriers and target them with
anti-ship ballistic missiles.
The report was prepared for the U.S.-China Economic and
Security Review Commission, a 12-member bipartisan group set up
in 2000 to report to U.S. lawmakers on security implications of
"Taiwan remains the principle illustrative scenario guiding
the PLA's military ambitions in space," said the study,
referring to the People's Liberation Army, as China's military
The PLA is improving its ability to monitor events in the
Asia-Pacific region through an expanded system of space-based
remote sensing, communications and navigation satellites, the
Project 2049 Institute said.
Such space assets could help China threaten an expanding
number of targets throughout the western Pacific Ocean, South
China Sea and elsewhere around its periphery, according to the
Among the potential targets of Chinese anti-ship ballistic
missiles, it said, would be any "intervening U.S. forces," such
as aircraft carriers.
Former President Bill Clinton sent two U.S. carrier battle
groups to the region in 1996 after Chinese missile exercises in
waters surrounding Taiwan, ahead of presidential elections on
(Reporting By Jim Wolf; Editing by Eric Beech)