By Jacob Paul | Express UK
RUSSIA and China have struck up an alarming pact after an expert told Express.co.uk that this week’s missile weapons test “cements Sino-Russian cooperation in space”.
It comes after Russia blew up one of their old satellites in a missile test in space that sent space debris whizzing past the International Space Station (ISS). The move forced NASA astronauts to take cover in their spaceships and sparked fury in Washington with the debris also threatening China’s space station, Tiangong.
But Brandon Weichert, author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, told Express.co.uk that the move will only deepen the cooperation between two of the West’s biggest adversaries.
He said: “If anything this is going to cement Sino-Russian cooperation in space.
“Whereas Russia has better space tech than China, it lacks proper funding.”
And Mr Weichert appears to be right.
The pair have announced today they will set up a space weather centre in Beijing as part of a move to strengthen both countries’ influence in the cosmos.
The China-Russia Consortium (CRC) space weather centre will be operated by organisations in both China and Russia, China’s national weather service announced in a statement.
Mr Weichert said that China has a lot of catching up to do in the space arena and can use this deal to help them compete with the US.
He said: “China, while it is not yet technologically as good or better than Russia in space technology has lots of money. “
He also warned that this could spell bad news for the US and heat up the already boiling tension between East and West.
He told Express.co.uk: “They both dislike the American-led international order and are willing to do whatever it takes to break up that order to secure their respective interests closer to home (the Indo-Pacific for China and Eastern Europe for Russia).
“Space is essential for any great power to have a chance at beating the Americans and their allies at war.
“Thus, space cooperation between China and Russia is important and will only grow the more relations with the US deteriorate.
“It’s the only path out of America’s tech dominance in space.”
The Kremlin’s relationship with the US appears to be spiralling out of control.
The US quickly hit out at Russia for the weapons test, which blew up Soviet-era Cosmos 1408 spy satellite into 1500 pieces, calling it “dangerous and irresponsible”.
But Russia hit right back and accused the US of lying and hypocrisy.
Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, claimed: “We did indeed successfully test a promising system. It hit the old satellite with razor-sharp precision. The fragments that formed pose no threat to space activity.”
And this is not the first time Russia and China have partnered up in space to distance themselves from the US.
Back in 2008, China and Russia proposed a treaty to stop the deployment of all weapons in outer space.
Moscow claims the deal was blocked by the US and its UN allies.
And last year, Mr Putin reportedly called for an agreement that would prohibit the use of weapons in space.
All this hawks back to the Cold War, when nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction were banned from space under the 1967 international treaty.
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister said: “We would prefer that the US, instead of unfounded accusations, actually sat down at the negotiating table and discussed its concerns about the treaty that Russia and China proposed to prevent an arms race [in space].”