UK Vows to Guard Against Space Threat From China, Russia

July 27, 2020 Updated: July 27, 2020

Britain is putting space at the heart of its defense in order to counter threats from China and Russia, according to UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.

As part of a foreign, security, and defense policy review being conducted by the UK government, the Ministry of Defense is planning to pivot away from traditional defense and “operate much more in the newest domains of space, cyber, and sub-sea,” Wallace wrote in The Telegraph.

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace
Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace arrives in Downing Street, London, on June 16, 2020. (John Sibley/Reuters)

“This week, we have been reminded of the threat Russia poses to our national security with the provocative test of a weapon-like projectile from a satellite threatening the peaceful use of space,” he said.

On July 15, Russia tested an anti-satellite weapon in space using the same system that stalked a U.S. reconnaissance satellite earlier this year, U.S. Space Command said July 23.

“But Russia is not alone,” said Wallace. “China, too, is developing offensive space weapons and both nations are upgrading their capabilities.”

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been developing the power to blind, disorient, and even destroy the United States’ GPS system, U.S. experts told The Epoch Times earlier this month.

Epoch Times Photo
The final Delta II GPS rocket lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base and launch site SLC-17A in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Aug. 17, 2009. (Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

“The weaponization of space is unfortunately well-advanced,” U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford said July 24.

“Moscow and Beijing have already turned space into a war-fighting domain,” he said. “Both are fielding new anti-satellite weapons in order to hold U.S. and allied space services at risk.”

In 2019, the Trump administration officially established the Space Force, which joined the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps as a distinct branch of the U.S. military.

space force flag
President Donald Trump stands as Chief of Space Operations at U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond (second from left) and Chief Master Sgt. Roger Towberman (second from right) hold the U.S. Space Force flag in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 15, 2020. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

“As traditional conflict shifts, and cyber and data become the battleground, we must outmaneuver our adversaries with a sharper technological edge and relentless focus on innovation,” Wallace said.

His latest remarks appear to signal greater policy alignment between the trans-Atlantic allies.

Britain’s relations with both Russia and China have been strained in recent weeks.

The UK government has targeted Russians with new sanctions and accused Russian actors of trying to meddle in last year’s election. Britain also has reacted strongly to the Chinese regime’s imposition of a draconian national security law on Hong Kong, offering 3 million Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship and suspending its extradition treaty with the former crown colony.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed his earlier decision to allow limited involvement by Chinese telecom firm Huawei in Britain’s 5G network, and ordered Huawei’s gear to be purged completely by 2027.

Britain has also voiced concerns over alleged cyberattacks by Russia and China against medical institutions conducting research on vaccines for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus.

Simon Veazey and Reuters contributed to this report.