Brian Weeden Co-Authors New Report on Improving U.S.-China Strategic Relations in Space

Monday, April 18, 2016

SWF Technical Advisor Brian Weeden has co-authored a chapter on space in a new report examining U.S.-China relations in strategic domains. The report, published by the National Bureau for Asian Research (NBR),  assesses U.S.-China relations in the maritime, nuclear, cyberspace, and space domains, as well as through the lens of people-to-people and military-to-military exchanges. Employing an innovative approach to represent both U.S. and Chinese perspectives, the members of the study team jointly examine opportunities for collaboration. Each essay identifies areas of divergence and convergence between U.S. and Chinese interests and recommends both cooperative initiatives and mechanisms to manage tensions.

Mr. Weeden and his Chinese co-author, Xiao He from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, examined the role of the space domain in the U.S.-China relationship, propose cooperative initiatives to strengthen the relationship where U.S. and Chinese interests overlap, and recommend measures to mitigate tensions and crises where they diverge. The report was unveiled April 18, 2016, at a public event in Washington, DC.

They concluded that the space domain will have a significant impact on the future of U.S.-China relations. Both countries see space as a domain that is critical to their national and economic security. The U.S. is focused on securing continued access to space and recapitalizing its space capabilities, while China is focused on developing its own capabilities in this domain. Although it is tempting to use the U.S.-Soviet competitive relationship in space as a model for the U.S.-China relationship, the analogy falls short due to the significant differences in context and the facts on the ground. At the very least, both the U.S. and China can take steps in the space domain to help stabilize their relationship and mitigate the worst-case scenario of armed conflict. But their efforts should not stop there: the ultimate goal should be to use space as a vehicle for positive engagement that helps shift the overall U.S.-China relationship toward cooperation and reduces the risk of conflict.


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Last updated on April 22, 2016