07 May 2021
The launch of Tiānhé and ongoing assembly of a modular space station by China represents the culmination of a decade-long marathon initiated in 1992. The current mythmaking about China’s intention to challenge the US space leadership with a new space (arms) race is fuelling a self-propelling mechanism that will lead to confrontation if nothing is done. To this end, it is high time for the West to engage China in meaningful cooperation mechanisms. There will only be a few possibilities of stemming the confrontational dynamics in the field of human space exploration, especially if China and Russia will seize the opportunity of a bilateral partnership. The ensuing antagonism will reverberate in other space issue-areas, compromising the security and strategic stability of space, and will have detrimental effects on peacebuilding on Earth.
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