context: President Trump has ruffled feathers with his promotion of American ‘space forces’, which Chinese analysts by and large view as an additional bid to support US hegemony.

China–US cooperation on space exploration promotes global technological advancement and benefits the world, argues Wu Zurong 吴祖荣 China Foundation for International Studies researcher. He urges US policymakers to realise the benefits and support cooperation.

The Chang’e 4 moon landing, upcoming construction of China’s first space station and China’s open attitude towards cooperating with UN members on space exploration all open a new door for China–US bilateral cooperation, says Wu.

Although the US leads in space technology, it cannot remain the world’s dominant great power with space technology alone. History will prove that US strategic thinking runs counter to global development trends, because

  • outer space is a shared resource, and neither a US territory nor a battlefield for great power competition
  • all races have contributed to the advancement of US space technology
  • the US is overly skeptical about China’s cooperation in space exploration
    • some US senators have worked to prevent use of federal funds to cooperate with China in space

However, scientific and technological experts from both China and the US managed to share valuable data on the Chang’e 4 operation, creating a favourable starting point for bilateral cooperation.