The country is believed to be progressing with the development of missiles and electronic weapons which could target satellites orbiting the Earth. The annual report by the Pentagon, published on Tuesday, explored military developments from China. The same report also warned the country is attempting to double its arsenal of nuclear warheads, and comes after US officials have pushed back against China’s military expansion.
The report said China wants to develop it’s “counterspace capabilities” with more advanced weaponry.
It claimed China already has ground-based missiles which can hit low-orbit satellites around the Earth.
But the report added the country “probably intends to pursue additional ASAT weapons capable of destroying satellites up to geosynchronous Earth orbit”.
The Department of Defence, who published the report, has been legally required to submit a summary of China’s military capabilities since 2000.
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It also said China’s People Liberation Army views space-based weaponry and counter-weaponry as “central to modern warfare”.
The report continues: “The PLA continues to strengthen its military space capabilities, despite its public stance against the militarisation of space.”
China has not publicly acknowledged the existence of any anti-satellite weapons programmes since 2007, when they launched a ballistic missile targeting one of its own weather satellites.
But the Pentagon’s report claims China has been steadily advancing its anti-satellite capabilities despite its claims otherwise.
Officials from both countries have blamed the other for rising tensions, and have escalated military drills and arms races in response to one another.
Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, has said Beijing does not want a “new Cold War” with the US, and called on Washington to cooperate.
He said: “China has no intention to fight a ‘diplomatic war’ with the US as it will only hurt the interests of the two peoples even more.
“If the US is bent on going down the wrong path, China is ready to make due response.”
Yang Sheng, a Chinese military expert, added the US is daring Beijing “to fire the first shot” in a conflict.
The report comes amid tensions between the US and China over military activities in Taiwan and the South China Sea.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, warned China in July “South China Sea is not China’s maritime empire”.
The two countries have also carried out military drills in the area, leading to threats of engagement from the USS navy and PLA.
Two US Navy aircraft carriers conducted exercises in the South China Sea within sight of Chinese naval vessels early in July.