chapter  6
38 Pages

Eyeing a Rising China

Dramatic news reports out of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in January of 2007 managed – if only for a short time – to displace the war in Iraq from news headlines in the United States. China revealed it had successfully destroyed a weather satellite in low earth orbit with a new direct ascent anti-satellite weapon. Soon thereafter the Chinese government announced it would boost defense spending by 17.8 percent for the year. Chinese officials portrayed their country’s actions as non-threatening and peaceful. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the missile test did not violate international law and affirmed China’s steadfast opposition to the weaponization of outer space.1 A spokesman for the National People’s Congress described the increase in the military budget as necessary to bolster China’s “weak” defenses.2