Russia and China plan ‘joint moon base’ as military space race heats up

Concerns about a new Cold War in space have been raised after the announcement of a new base on the Moon shared by Russia and China.

The two countries signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint construction of a lunar space station, on Tuesday, March 9, Russia's space agency Roscosmos said in a statement.

Former US president Donald Trump established a new military branch focused on fighting battles in space and the UK’s Ministry of Defence has also made preparations to face off against their enemies in orbit. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently vowed to invest billions in the UK’s new Space Force.

Military capability in space is becoming increasingly important because satellite communications are vital to surveillance, intelligence-gathering and communications.

A potential military dimension to Russia and China’s Moon base has raised fears of an international arms race in space.

Bruce Jones, an expert on Russia and defence, told the Mirror: “Russia and China combining their resources, their finances and expertise could lead to all kinds of security threats.

“But most importantly it means that the west will be forced to react with their supposed plans to form a moon-base.”

He says any potential agreement between Russia and China will inevitably increase the offensive capabilities of both countries.

In the event of a Russian-Chinese alliance developing military supremacy in orbit, is would seriously disrupt the US military’s ability to operate.

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, said that the Moon base development represented a real threat to NATO forces: “Any co-operation of this kind between Russia and China is always of concern."

"Security in space has long been extremely important," he added, "and I expect this new announcement will mean it will become increasingly so to the UK military.

“Anything that has an impact on our cyber and space security has to be watched very carefully and Britain will have to make sure its capability in this area can compete.

“But this does not mean it should be one or the other, with ground forces being depleted.”

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