2012-06-25 — China’s recent advancements in its space and deep-sea programs have important military implications and could give Beijing further bargaining chips in regional disputes, a Macau-based military expert said Monday.
The successful docking of the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong 1 module in recent weeks indicated that China has achieved accurate space orbits, Antony Wong Dong, president of the Macau-based International Military Association, was cited as saying by Hong Kong’s Chinese-language daily Ming Pao.
The technology, if applied militarily, “can help upgrade (China’s) missile defense,” Wong said.
China, one of only three countries to successfully complete a space docking after the United States and the Soviet Union, has twice tested missile interceptions, Wong said.
In 2007, a ground-based Chinese missile hit and destroyed one of the country’s aging satellites. Three years later, China held an anti-ballistic missile test.
“Now China has mastered the technology of docking with an orbiting object. It can improve the rate at which anti-ballistic missiles hit their targets,” Wong contended.
Meanwhile, the manned submersible Jiaolong reportedly dove to a depth of 7,015 meters — a new world record — on June 24. Wong said this would help advance the country’s military submarine technology.
“Currently Chinese military submarines can reach depths of 300 to 400 meters. With the Jiaolong’s technology, it will be much easier for them to dive deeper than 400 meters,” Wong said, noting that diving deeper means a lesser chance of being detected by the enemy and attacked by anti-submarine weapons.
Wong said the potential military applications brought by China’s progress in space and sea exploration has given it another advantage in imposing its will in South China Sea territorial disputes and combating a U.S.-Japan joint military containment policy.
Despite the difficulty in completely resolving South China Sea disagreements, other nations will likely be more cautious about China’s rising military might.
“These technologies are, after all, something others lack. When dealing with regional affairs, this will be like having one more trump card in negotiations,” Wong said.