China afraid US’ space dominance via Starlink might jeopardise International cybersecurity & sovereignty

Illustration of SpaceX's Starlink network of satellites.

China has expressed fears that US might be planning to use The Starlink internet service run by Elon Musk’s spaced to dominate the world and comprise the world security.

The worries by China are made open in  a recent publication by China Military Online, an official website linked to China’s Central Military Commission, which is headed by President Xi Jinping.

The Chinese military  expressed concern that the Starlink is already being used to give Ukraine a military advantage over Russia in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. China believes that the US-backed drones are relying on the services of Starlink, in addition to the internet’s big data and recognition technology ad a for Ukraine. 

The Chinese military called upon the world to be wary of this development and US’ involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war.

“SpaceX has decided to increase the number of Starlink satellites from 12,000 to 42,000 – the programme’s unchecked expansion and the company’s ambition to use it for military purposes should put the international community on high alert,” the publication read in part.

“Clearly, the military applications of the Starlink program will give the US military a head-start on the future battlefield and become an `accomplice’ for the US to continue to dominate the space.”

Starlink professes to be a civilian program that provides high-speed Internet services. However, China’s military claims  it has a powerful military background, citing launch sites built within the Vandenberg Air Force Base. The group has launched satellites from American airbases and cooperated with the military “many times,” it said.

It went on to claim that three years ago, SpaceX received funds from the US Air Force to test how well Starlink satellites can relay encrypted communication to military aircraft.

It is contended that  in 2020, the US Army  signed a deal to use Starlink’s broadband to transmit data, plus a $150-million contract to develop military satellites, and last year it was transmitting data to F-35A fighter jets at speeds “30 times faster than traditional connections,” the exposition added.

Consequently, China believes that Starlink’s satellites could have reconnaissance, navigation and meteorological devices added to them to enhance the US military’s combat capability to boost remote sensing, communications, navigation and positioning, attack and collision, and space sheltering.

According to a statement by Defense News, Pentagon officials were impressed last month when SpaceX managed to block  an electro-magnetic attack by Russia that aimed to jam its Starlink broadband satellite service and help people in Ukraine retain their link to the internet.

Elon Musk has bragged before that Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine in the wake of the invasion.

There have also been reports of Starlink aiding the Ukrainian military in precision strikes on Russian tanks and forces because its high data rates enable better links. Drones could also serve as relay units to transmit data. 

The China Military has labelled Starlink as  a “space juggernaut” and a “mega project” that could transform global communications and give birth to “a gigantic Starlink biosphere, and monopolize the future space application market.”

It cited experts who say that if SpaceX installs a few root servers in the space, it can make Starlink the second independent global Internet. This, it explained, will pose a serious challenge to all countries in defending their cyberspace sovereignty and protecting their information security.

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