China is stealing U.S. military and civilian space technology in an effort to disrupt U.S. access to intelligence, navigation and communications satellites, according to a report from the State and Defense departments.
“China’s continuing efforts to acquire U.S. military and dual-use technologies are enabling China’s science and technology base to diminish the U.S. technological edge in areas critical to the development of weapons and communications systems,” the report released this week found. “Additionally, the technologies China has acquired could be used to develop more advanced technologies by shortening Chinese R&D cycles.”
Two U.S. intelligence officials said that while the Chinese military isn’t preparing to fight a major land war, its goal is to deny the U.S. military access to the other four arenas in which a war might be fought — the seas around China, the airspace surrounding the country, space, and cyberspace. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because intelligence matters are classified.
Because China’s closed political system discourages the independent thinking that spawns innovation, the Chinese rely heavily on stealing and reverse-engineering new technologies from Europe and America, both officials said.
“Economic espionage, supported by extensive open-source research, computer network exploitation and targeted intelligence operations also enables China to obtain technologies to supplement indigenous military modernization efforts,” the State and Defense departments said in an appendix to yesterday’s report. The agencies said China should be excluded from recommendations they made to ease restrictions on exports of communications and remote-sensing satellites and equipment.