CCP Extending “3 Warfares” Strategy Into Space: Expert
“A Chinese robot trundles about in the dust. It collects rock samples, measures chemical compounds, and observes craters never before seen by humankind. It’s beyond the reach of U.S. sensors. It’s beyond the rule of international laws and norms. It’s on a mission.
It’s on the dark side of the moon.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been operating Yutu-2 on the far side of Luna since 2019. Ostensibly part of the CCP’s lunar exploration program, rovers such as Yutu-2 are preparing the way for the construction of a new robotic research base on the moon. That base, in turn, will prepare the way for a crewed moon landing and a new lunar base managed jointly by China and Russia.
The exploration phase of this process, of which Yutu-2 is a part, is planned to extend through 2025 with six more missions conducted by China and Russia. Following that, construction on the base is expected to last until at least 2035, with full operational capacity being achieved by 2036.
The ambition piques the interest of scientists, ever hungry for new knowledge about Earth’s only moon. The secrecy shrouding the project, however, unnerves strategists who don’t see this little rover as merely one small step for mankind, but as one giant leap for Chinese military capabilities.
Indeed, some experts believe that Yutu-2’s lunar rock collection isn’t only a continuation of Sino–U.S. competition, but might actually provide the keys to victory in a future war.
Space Is a Warfighting Domain
Michael Listner is an attorney of a very peculiar sort. He specializes in space policy and has, for some years, led the publication of “The Précis,” a legal newsletter that examines the basis of space law and its ramifications for international policy in every field from business to national security.
He says the CCP is extending its “Three Warfares” strategy into space. This vast new frontier will be central to the regime’s campaigns of media aggrandizement, the subject of psychological warfare, and, vitally, the centerpiece of new legal battles that will reshape the international order as China seeks to claim the United States’ global hegemon status for its own.
The strategy, he said, is designed to undermine and perhaps defeat the enemy without firing a shot.
“Space is a warfighting domain,” Listner said. “It’s going to be part of the struggle and it’s going to be part of a future conflict.”
“They are fighting on all these fronts right now,” Listner added of the CCP’s three warfares strategy in space. “In fact, I really look at it as preparing the battlefield.”
That effort to shape the battlefield, central to any military, is particularly meaningful to Chinese military strategists who, since at least the fifth century B.C., have studied the writings of the eminent philosopher of war Sun Tzu, who argued that preparing the battlefield was the means of mastering the enemy.
As such, it’s feared that the Chinese regime will effectively ensure that should conflict break out, it has the strategic advantage by preparing a favorable legal landscape, positioning assets in orbit, and building alliances in its space operations.
The reason for the continuation of this effort on the moon is simple enough: America can’t work without space.
“The American dependence and reliance on space is almost absolute,” said Paul Crespo, president of the Center for American Defense Studies.
“From communications to banking to air and ground travel and GPS, our economy, society, and military cannot survive without U.S. space dominance.”
Crespo, a Marine veteran who served in the Defense Intelligence Agency, has spent years examining the CCP’s malign influence abroad and its efforts to degrade and undermine its adversaries through dual-use technologies and legal warfare.”
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