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Analysis of Space Cooperation Between China and Russia


Lengthy analysis of Sino-Russian cooperation as a force for diplomacy and multipolarity in space, emphasizing the two countries’ opposition to a perceived U.S. arms race and weaponization of space.

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[Executive Summary] Since the end of the Cold War, the Sino-Russian bilateral relationship has become increasingly close in a variety of areas. China-Russia space cooperation is a manifestation of the developing political relationship between the two countries. In terms of space technology, taking the 2014 Ukraine crisis as the dividing line, a significant change occurred in the content and approach of China-Russia space cooperation, from shallow to deep. With respect to space diplomacy, the two countries cooperate with each other to prevent an arms race in space and the weaponization of space. China-Russia space cooperation is a concrete expression of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and a response to the U.S. policy of space weaponization. At the same time, space cooperation between the two countries inevitably shapes space geopolitics, which in turn constrains China-Russia space technology cooperation to a certain extent and has an important impact on the Sino-Russian strategic cooperative partnership. China-Russia space cooperation is the necessary result of addressing the geopolitical challenges in space and has important significance for maintaining the multipolarity of space and the overall stability of the China-United States-Russia triangular space relationship, preserving the status and attributes of the “global commons” in space, and formulating fair and just rules of space governance in the future, thereby ensuring the stability of the space order. China-Russia space cooperation, especially the establishment of a joint lunar research station, is a concrete attempt to implement the concept of global governance of “negotiation, joint construction, and sharing” and build a community of human destiny in space, and it is also a way for China to provide Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom for changing space governance. The expansion and deepening of China-Russia space cooperation will further propel the strategic partnership between the two countries to a new stage.

【内容提要】冷战结束以来,中俄双边关系在各个领域越来越紧密。中俄太空合作是两国政治关系发展的表征。就太空技术而言,以 2014 年乌克兰危机为分界线,中俄太空合作的内容与方式发生了明显的变化,合作由浅入深。在太空外交方面,两国相互配合,为预防太空军备竞赛与太空武器化开展密切合作。中俄太空合作是两国全面战略协作伙伴关系的具体表现,也是针对美国太空武器化政策的回应。同时,两国太空合作也势必塑造太空地缘政治,反过来又在一定程度上制约中俄太空技术合作,对中俄战略协作伙伴关系产生重要影响。中俄太空合作是应对太空地缘政治挑战的必然结果,对于维护太空多极化与总体稳定的中美俄太空三角关系、维护太空的“全球公地”地位与属性,制定未来公平公正的太空治理规则,从而确保太空秩序的稳定,具有重要意义。中俄太空合作,尤其是建立联合月球科研站,是贯彻“共商共建共享”全球治理观、构建人类太空命运共同体的具体尝试,也是中国为变革太空治理提供中国方案与中国智慧。中俄太空合作的扩大与深化,将进一步推动两国战略协作伙伴关系上升到一个新阶段。

An important change in international geopolitics since the end of the Cold War has been the improvement and upgrading of Sino-Russian relations. The relationship between the two countries has gradually grown close since 1991, when the two countries signed a border agreement resolving their border disputes, developing from a “constructive partnership” in 1994 to a “strategic partnership” in 1996. This led to the formation of a “constructive strategic partnership of mutual trust and equality” at the beginning of the 21st century. In the first two decades of the 21st century, the two countries further elevated the bilateral relationship to a “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.” Against this overall background, bilateral space cooperation has gradually intensified, and is a concrete expression of the improvement and upgrading of relations between the two countries. In order to preserve space security, national security, and the stability of the international strategic landscape, China and Russia maintain close cooperation on space diplomacy, the objective being to create an external environment conducive to national development. When it comes to space technology cooperation, geopolitical factors play an important role. The space development dynamics of China and Russia, as well as the U.S. strategy of space hegemony (including space weaponization policies and practices) are the key variables in space technology cooperation between the two sides. The expansion and deepening of China-Russia space cooperation dovetails the development of political relations between the two countries in response to changes in space geopolitics,1 and also has an impact on the shaping of space geopolitics.

冷战结束以来,国际地缘政治的一个重要变化,是中俄关系的改善与提升。自 1991 年两国签署边界协定解决边境争端以来,两国关系逐渐密切,从 1994 年的“建设性伙伴关系”发展到 1996 年“战略协作伙伴关系”,进而在 21 世纪初形成“平等互信的建设性战略协作伙伴关系”。在 21 世纪第二个十年,两国进一步把双边关系提升到“全面战略协作伙伴关系”。在这个大背景下,作为两国关系改善和提高的具体表现,双方太空合作力度逐步加大。为维护太空安全、国家安全和国际战略格局的稳定,中俄两国在太空外交上保持密切合作,目的在于创造有利于国家发展的外部环境。就太空技术合作而言,地缘政治因素发挥着重要作用。中俄两国太空发展态势,以及美国太空霸权战略(包括太空武器化政策与做法)是双方太空技术合作的关键变量。中俄太空合作的扩大与深化,伴随着两国政治关系的发展,是对太空地缘政治变化的回应,同时也对太空地缘政治的塑造产生影响。

I. The History of China-Russia space technology cooperation in the post-Cold War era


China-Russia space technology cooperation as a whole has shown a trend of gradual expansion and deepening. From an overall perspective, China-Russia space technology cooperation since the end of the Cold War can be roughly divided into two stages, with the Ukraine crisis in 2014 as the dividing line: The first stage was one of shallow cooperation, mainly in the form of a bilateral “buying and selling relationship.” After the Ukraine crisis, space cooperation between the two countries further expanded and deepened, forming a China-Russia space cooperation relationship with space technology, space science, and space equipment intertwined.

中俄太空技术合作总体上呈现逐步扩大与深入的趋势。从整体上看,冷战结束以来,以 2014 年乌克兰危机为分界线,中俄太空技术合作大致可以分为两个阶段:第一阶段属于浅层次的合作,主要表现形式是双边的“买卖关系”;乌克兰危机后,两国太空合作进一步扩大与深化,形成了太空技术、太空科学、太空设备相互交织的中俄太空合作关系。

In 1970, China successfully launched the “Dongfanghong-1” satellite, thus entering the space club. Although this achievement was the result of China’s self-reliance and hard work, it should not be overlooked that China’s move into space also benefited from the assistance of the Soviet Union: China’s launch vehicle technology originated from Soviet assistance in ballistic missile technology, and the Soviet Union trained a number of young scientists and engineers for the development of China’s aerospace endeavors.2 From the rupture of Sino-Soviet relations until the end of the Cold War, there was little space cooperation between the Soviet Union and China.

1970 年中国成功发射“东方红一号”卫星,从而迈入太空俱乐部。尽管这一成就是中国自力更生、艰苦奋斗得来的结果,但不容忽视的是,中国走向太空也得益于苏联的援助:中国的运载火箭技术起源于苏联援助的弹道导弹技术,苏联为中国航天事业发展培训了一批年轻的科学家与工程师。从中苏关系的破裂直到冷战结束,中苏两国几乎没有开展太空合作。

With the resolution of border issues between China and Russia in the 1990s, bilateral relations were gradually improved and enhanced, and space cooperation could be realized. The 1992 agreement on intergovernmental space cooperation between China and Russia and the 1994 cooperation agreement between the space ministries of the two countries were the beginnings of bilateral space cooperation.3 The China-Russia Space Cooperation Sub-committee was established in 2000, under the framework of regular meetings arranged between the Chinese and Russian premiers, to carry out cooperation and exchanges in the space field, and holds meetings once a year. By 2020, 21 meetings of the China-Russia Space Cooperation Sub-committee had been held. China and Russia use this mechanism to negotiate space cooperation, including multi-year and short-term cooperation projects.

随着中俄两国在 20 世纪 90 年代解决了边境问题,双边关系逐步改善与提升,太空合作得以实现。1992 年中俄两国签署的政府间太空合作协定,以及 1994 年两国航天部门签署的合作协议,是双方太空合作的肇始。2000年,在中俄总理定期会晤机制框架下成立了中俄航天合作分委会,开展太空领域的合作与交流,每年举行一次会议。到 2020 年,中俄航天合作分委会共举行了 21 次会议。中俄利用该机制协商太空合作事宜,包括多年度的合作项目和短期合作项目。

Bilateral space cooperation after the Cold War began in the manned spaceflight field. After China established its manned space program, Russia provided the reference for China’s design of the Shenzhou series of spacecraft. The Russian side not only supplied China with spacesuits, but also trained Chinese astronauts and provided technical support for their first spaceflight activities. 4 Russia contributed to China’s entry into the manned space club in 2003. In addition, the two sides also cooperated in the areas of satellites and basic components. Until 2006, the two countries generally cooperated in three areas: satellites, space science, and basic components.5 In 2007, the two countries signed a cooperation agreement on the joint exploration of Mars—with the Russian Mars probe “Phobos-Grunt” (Фобос-Грунт) to carry the Chinese probe “Yinghuo-1,” and the Russian space-based observatory to be used for joint deep space exploration, but the project was scrubbed due to the failure of the Russian launch.

冷战后两国太空合作起始于载人航天领域。在中国确立载人航天项目后,俄罗斯为中国设计“神舟”系列飞船提供参考。俄罗斯方面不仅向中国提供宇航服,也为中国培训宇航员,还为中国宇航员首次出舱活动提供技术支持。俄罗斯为中国在 2003 年跻身载人航天俱乐部做出了贡献。此外,双方也在卫星与基础元器件等方面进行了合作。总体上,2006 年之前,两国在卫星、空间科学、基础元器件三个领域开展了合作。2007 年,两国签署联合探测火星合作协议——由俄罗斯火星探测器“福布斯-土壤”(Фобос-Грунт)搭载中国探测器“萤火一号”,利用俄罗斯的天基天文台联合深空探测,但是该项目因为俄罗斯发射失败而终止。

In October 2009, Russia and China signed the “Outline of China-Russia Space Cooperation for 2010-2012,” planning future cooperation in fields such as translunar deep space exploration, human spaceflight, and navigation satellites.6 That month, the two countries also signed the “Agreement on Mutual Notification of Ballistic Missile and Space Launch Vehicle Launches,” which provides for mutual notification of ballistic missile and launch vehicle launches within their respective territories. In December of the same year, China and Russia signed an agreement aimed at facilitating the exchange of space information between the two countries at the academic level. From the launch of China’s manned space program to 2016, China and Russia have cooperated on more than 20 projects in all. 7 To promote space cooperation, the Russian and Chinese authorities set up representative offices in each other’s capitals in 2008 to exchange and communicate on matters related to cooperation.


Before 2014, however, China-Russia space technology cooperation still lagged behind the two countries’ political engagement. After the Ukraine crisis in 2014, space cooperation between the two sides entered a new phase in which cooperation not only expanded in breadth but also increased in depth. Cooperation on positioning and navigation satellites was the starting point of the new phase of cooperation between the two countries. The United States and other Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia under the pretext of the Ukraine crisis, including a ban on the export to Russia of satellite-borne electronic equipment, which is precisely one of Russia’s shortcomings. At the time, several satellites of the Russian GLONASS system had exceeded their initial design service lives and needed to be replaced with new satellites.8 In addition, the United States rejected Russia’s application to establish ground stations for the system on U.S. territory. Under these circumstances, the Russian positioning and navigation system faced major inaccuracy problems. Russia turned its attention to China and sought cooperation with it in the field of positioning and navigation. In January 2014, the two sides established the “Russia-China Project Committee on Important Strategic Cooperation in Satellite Navigation.” 9 The committee meets once a year on a rotating basis to discuss specific cooperation between the BeiDou and GLONASS systems, and to resolve related issues that arise. At present, the two countries are jointly developing equipment (including chips and information receiving modules) to achieve mutual compatibility and data sharing between the two systems. The two countries have also set up ground stations on each other’s territory to improve the accuracy of positioning and navigation between the two systems. Particularly noteworthy was the test conducted by Russia and China in August 2017 on a 7,000-km round-trip transport line, aimed at strategic cooperation between the two systems in application fields.10 In December 2020, the Chinese and Russian premiers announced that they would explore long-term cooperation between the two systems by improving their compatibility. 11


During President Putin’s visit to China in 2016, the Russian and Chinese governments signed an agreement on the protection of intellectual property rights in the field of space technology, clearing away legal barriers to the development of in-depth cooperation in space technology between the two countries. In September 2017, the two countries finalized the Outline of China-Russia Space Cooperation for 2018-2022, which includes projects on lunar and deep space development, rocket engine and satellite-borne electronic equipment transactions, etc. This is the first five-year agreement between the two countries. It is within this framework that the two countries have realized the vision of cooperation agreed upon several years ago: The purchase of Russian RD-180 rocket engines by China and the export of satellite electronics to Russia. The two countries also held negotiations in 2018 on the joint production of RD-180 rocket engines.

2016年普京总统访华期间,俄罗斯与中国政府签署了太空技术领域的知识产权保护协定,为两国开展太空技术的深度合作,扫清了知识产权保障方面的法律障碍。2017年9月,两国确定了《2018-2022年中俄航天合作大纲》, 其项目包含月球与深空开发、火箭引擎与星载电子设备交易等,这是两国之间的第一个五年协议。正是在这个框架下,两国实现了几年前双方达成的合作设想:中国购买俄罗斯RD-180火箭引擎,并向俄罗斯出口星载电子设备;2018年两国还就联合生产RD-180火箭引擎进行了谈判。

A key point in the implementation of the five-year outline of space cooperation is to take substantial steps in lunar and other deep space exploration fields. After the United States and other Western countries closed the door to cooperation with it, Russia has clearly strengthened its willingness to engage in lunar exploration with China, looking to make up for its failure to go to the moon during the Cold War era with a successful lunar landing. In November 2016, the two countries’ space agencies formalized their intention and sincerity regarding cooperation on lunar exploration, with collaboration on China’s Chang’e-4, Chang’e-5, and Chang’e-6, and Russia’s Luna-26, Luna-27, and Luna-28. 12 Russia and China cooperated substantially during China’s Chang’e 4 and 5 lunar expeditions, fulfilling Russia’s repeatedly expressed commitment to joint lunar exploration with China. In 2018, the two countries discussed the possibility of cooperation in lunar research and deep space exploration, and in 2019 they signed an agreement to establish a data center for lunar and deep space exploration to share relevant information, including on the Moon and Mars. 13 The two countries formally signed an agreement in early March 2021, agreeing that “the two countries, using their experience in space science, research and development, and use of space equipment and space technology, will jointly develop a roadmap for the construction of an international lunar research station, and will collaborate closely on the planning, demonstration, design, development, implementation, and operation of the project to build an international lunar research station.” 14 This is an historic agreement.


To achieve cooperation in lunar exploration and joint establishment of an international lunar research station will require transporting large spacecraft and astronauts to the Moon. For this reason, the two countries have decided to cooperate in the field of rocket development, and this was written into the outline of cooperation. In 2018, Russia launched the Yenisei super-heavy launch vehicle project, and in 2019 it passed and approved the design of the rocket, which is scheduled to have its maiden flight in 2028 and a manned flight in 2029. The Yenisei launch vehicle has a capacity of 70 tons in near-Earth orbit and can launch a 27-ton payload into lunar orbit. For a manned lunar landing, China plans to develop the Long March 9 rocket with a near-Earth orbit capacity of 100 tons and a lunar orbit capacity of 30 tons. In order to ensure that implementation of the lunar exploration project goes smoothly, Russia’s NPO Energomash was given a license in early 2019 to assist China in developing super-heavy rocket engines. 15 In 2019, Roscosmos announced the exchange of rocket engine data with China. 16 If China succeeds in its development, the world will have a triad of manned launch systems: the U.S. Space Launch System (SLS), the Russian Yenisei, and the Chinese Long March 9.


The above-mentioned outline of cooperation also envisages the formation of a joint data center for deep space exploration between research institutions and enterprises of both countries for the mutual sharing of information. In addition, the contents of the outline of cooperation include joint development and use of spacecraft, as well as cooperation in [Earth] remote sensing (ERS) data and space debris detection. Universities, research institutions, and enterprises of the two countries are implementing various projects in China-Russia space fields, including a laboratory for the study of space cable systems established by the Samara State Aerospace University in Russia with Northwestern Polytechnical University in China, and a scientific laboratory for the manufacture of Russian-Chinese engines established with Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. St. Petersburg Polytechnic University has signed a three-year contract with Chinese industrial partners for a total of 100 million rubles to advance a project to achieve nanocomposite welding in space. Kazan Federal University and relevant Chinese universities are jointly building a highly accurate selenocentric navigation network. Tomsk Polytechnic University is cooperating with Tsinghua University to establish a space materials research institute.17 This joining of forces by the scientific institutions and enterprises of the two countries is a concrete expression of Russia and China’s entry into substantial space cooperation.


China and Russia have also taken important steps in cooperation involving the space security field. If the above-mentioned cooperation in space is limited to the peaceful use of space, cooperation between the two countries in anti-missile and missile early warning system fields is cooperation on space security. Following cyber anti-missile exercises in 2016 and 2017, President Putin announced at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in October 2019 that Russia is helping China build a missile early warning system, which will significantly increase China’s defense capabilities. Only Russia and the United States currently possess missile early warning systems, which include both space-based and ground-based systems. Russia’s assistance on China’s construction of a missile early warning system, whether by helping China develop space-based sensors, building ground-based radar systems, or sharing software and information for space-based and ground-based warning systems, will enhance China’s anti-missile capabilities and sky monitoring capabilities. In addition, in December 2020, China and Russia extended their agreement on mutual notification of missile launches. Given the U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty and the global arms control regime suffering another setback, the continued strengthening of China-Russia cooperation and coordination on mutual notification of ballistic missiles and on launch vehicles contributes to global strategic stability and security.


If in the previous phase of China-Russia space cooperation the two countries only cooperated at a superficial level, the latter phase of space cooperation between the two sides has significantly expanded and deepened. It not only includes the sale of components, but has also deepened into cooperation in space technology and space science, and further expanded into the field of space security. China-Russia space cooperation has thus taken substantial steps. As China’s space technology continues to make strides, large-scale space projects, including the BeiDou system and deep space exploration on the Moon and Mars, are advancing steadily and making great achievements, while Russia is under sanctions from the United States and other Western countries, and its space budget is restricted. This has affected the progress of space projects, making Russia change its past “strong” posture and negotiate with China on an equal footing, which in turn reflects the win-win nature of cooperation.


II. Cooperation to prevent the weaponization of space


While one can say that the above China-Russia space technology cooperation is divided into two phases, before and after [the 2014 Ukraine crisis], space diplomacy cooperation between the two countries has maintained a close posture ever since the end of the Cold War, because space is tightly linked to international security and national security. As is well known, the advent of the space age was closely tied to the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race. Space is the “eyes and ears” of strategic nuclear forces, and is an extremely important aid in strategic deterrence. With the development of space technology, satellites not only became information platforms that provide services and facilitation for military operations, such as communications, weather, and navigation, but also firepower platforms or firepower delivery platforms. As a result, satellites became military force “multipliers” and “enablers,” and a space dominance doctrine also emerged. After the end of the Cold War, several local wars further validated and enriched the doctrine of space dominance. In order to fight for space supremacy, the U.S.-Soviet arms race in the Cold War era included an arms race in space, and both sides developed, tested, and deployed space-based kinetic anti-satellite weapons, ground-based and air-based kinetic anti-satellite weapons, and other non-kinetic anti-satellite weapons. After the end of the Cold War, the United States vigorously promoted the weaponization of space in order to consolidate its hegemony in space or delay its decline, despite strong opposition from the international community. Under circumstances where diplomatic efforts were unable to curb the U.S. weaponization of space, some countries had to take some countermeasures, developing and stockpiling anti-satellite weapons, and thus opening the curtain on a new round of space arms race. Space-based and ground-based kinetic anti-satellite weapons, directed energy anti-satellite weapons, and cyber and radio frequency anti-satellite weapons have emerged or will soon emerge. Given the irreplaceable role of space and its technology for economic and social development, the weaponization of space not only threatens the safety of satellites operating in orbit, but also has serious negative effects on economic development and social welfare. Furthermore, the increasingly close integration of space with the command and control systems of a country’s military leads to potentially huge threats to national security. More importantly, the integration of space and nuclear strategic forces, and the weaponization of space, can have serious and potentially disruptive effects on international strategic balance and stability. In short, the weaponization of space is a threat to world peace and can also cause enormous damage to economic development and social welfare. To strengthen national security and promote economic development, as well as to maintain international security, China and Russia cooperate with each other in summit diplomacy and in multilateral processes, taking practical actions to prevent the arms race in space and the weaponization of space.


As mentioned earlier, space is closely linked to strategic nuclear forces. In the Cold War era, due to technical constraints, only nuclear explosions could be used to destroy an opponent’s incoming strategic and tactical nuclear missiles. Therefore, in order to protect their important strategic targets, the United States and the Soviet Union established anti-missile systems, including space-based anti-missile systems, in multiple locations in their respective countries. To maintain a strategic balance between the two sides, in 1972 the United States and Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) and its subsequent Protocol, which provided that each side would establish an ABM system only in its capital or around ICBM launch sites, and that it would not develop, test, or deploy sea, air, or land-based ABM systems, or either space-based or land-based mobile ABM systems or their components. The treaty is a cornerstone of global strategic stability. When the United States moved to implement theater missile defense systems and a national missile defense system, China and Russia judged that the United States was likely to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, and therefore called on the United States to comply with it. The November 1998 Joint Statement on Sino-Russian Relations at the Turn of the Century, the December 1999 Sino-Russian Joint Statement, and the July 2000 Joint Statement on Anti-Ballistic Missile Issues all emphasized that the ABM Treaty is a cornerstone of international strategic stability, and that the U.S. development of a national missile defense system and construction of ABM systems would have destructive effects. Following the George W. Bush administration’s decision to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, and its insistence on deploying weapons in space, in July 2001 the heads of state of China and Russia once again stressed the importance of the ABM Treaty for international security and the international disarmament and arms control mechanisms. They resolutely opposed the deployment of weapons in space, and called for the establishment in the Conference on Disarmament of an ad hoc committee on the prevention of an arms race in space, and for the conclusion of an international legal instrument prohibiting the weaponization of space. 18 The above declarations are the two heads of State expressing to the world Russia and China’s resolute opposition to the weaponization of space.


Anti-missile systems have developed to where they can not only destroy satellites in orbit using nuclear explosions, but can also destroy such satellites directly, becoming direct-ascent kinetic anti-satellite weapons. In 2008 and 2019, the United States and India conducted anti-satellite tests using anti-missile systems. More importantly, the United States has not only expanded its ABM system in spite of the international community’s opposition, but has also deployed the “Shore-based Aegis” system and the “SAD” system in Europe and Asia, and further developed and stockpiled space weapons, sharply increasing the threat that space will be weaponized and turned it into a zone of military confrontation. This trend will undermine strategic stability and threaten international security. In 2016, the heads of state of China and Russia called on the international community not to deploy weapons in space in the first place, and to negotiate a legally binding international treaty to limit space armaments and prevent an arms race in space on the basis of a Russian-Chinese amended draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (hereinafter referred to as the PPWT).19 After Trump came into office, the U.S. government saw the world returning to an era of great power competition, accusing China and Russia of challenging the U.S.-led global order and threatening U.S. economic prosperity and national security. Therefore, the United States seeks to build its lethal military force, including nuclear and space power. Toward this end, the Trump administration further expanded and integrated anti-missile systems, expanded space-based anti-missile sensors, planned to deploy space-based interceptors, and formed an integrated land, sea, air, and space anti-missile system.20 It also established the Space Force, and formed an integrated Space Force command, on a par with the Strategic Command and other functional commands. In conjunction with this, there has been further development and deployment of space power. On the pretext of Russia’s violation of the INF Treaty, the United States is withdrawing from the INF Treaty, and will develop, test, and deploy intermediate-range (nuclear) missiles. It will strive for total space superiority, integrate space systems into combat systems, and thereby seek strategic, operational, and tactical victories in great power competition. The U.S. approach of increasing the weaponization of space and turning space into a battlefield has undoubtedly brought enormous uncertainty to world security. In June 2019, the heads of state of China and Russia once again expressed their concerns and worries. Calling on all countries to work to ban the weaponization of space, they said that U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty undermines strategic stability and triggers an arms race; the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, and especially “the development of its strategic anti-missile systems, and its plans to deploy them in different regions of the world and in space, continue to have serious negative repercussions for international and regional strategic balance, and security stability,” and “the real prospect of an arms race in space, and its evolution into a frontier of military conflict, threaten strategic stability.”21


In addition to calling on the United States to exercise restraint in space armament development, China and Russia have been cooperating in major multilateral diplomatic forums such as the UN General Assembly, the Conference on Disarmament, and the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, working tirelessly to prevent an arms race in space and limit the weaponization of space. Since the issue of preventing an arms race is space is mainly discussed in the UN General Assembly and the Conference on Disarmament, we will only focus here on cooperation between China and Russia in the UN General Assembly and the Conference on Disarmament on space arms race prevention and prohibiting space weapons.


At a time when the United States was developing theater missile and national missile defense systems and preparing to withdraw, or showing signs of withdrawing, from the ABM Treaty, Russia, China, and Belarus submitted proposals to the UN General Assembly in 1999 and 2000 on the Preservation of, and Compliance with, the ABM Treaty. These proposals were adopted by the General Assembly by overwhelming majorities. After the Bush administration announced its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2001, China and Russia cooperated with other countries to submit proposals on Preserving and Complying with the ABM Treaty, in an attempt to get the U.S. government to change its errant approach. These proposals were also adopted by the General Assembly. Despite the failure to prevent the United States from withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, China and Russia did fulfill their responsibilities and obligations.


After failing to prevent the United States from withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, the international community sought to limit U.S. research and development of space armaments. Since 2003, China and Russia have proposed to the General Assembly the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS), which has been overwhelmingly approved by the UN General Assembly every year, but has been opposed by the United States, Israel and other countries. Proposals related to this issue, including “Transparency and Confidence Building Measures” (TCBMs) in space first proposed in 2005, No First Deployment of Weapons in Space (NFP) first proposed in 2014, and Further Practical Measures to Prevent an Arms Race in Outer Space proposed in 2018, have all been rejected by the U.S. government. 22 These initiatives, essentially proposed by Russia, all received support from China, which either cosponsored or voted for them.

在无力阻止美国退出《反导条约》后,国际社会谋求限制美国研发太空军备。从2003年起,中俄等国向联大提出预防太空军备竞赛(Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space,PAROS)的提案,每年都得到联合国大会压倒性票数通过,但是一直遭到美国、以色列等国的反对。与此议题相关的提案,包括2005年首次提出的“太空透明与信任建设机制”(TCBMs)、2014年首次提出的“不在太空首先部署武器”(NFP)、2018年提出的“防止外层空间军备竞赛的进一步实际措施”,均被美国政府拒绝。这些倡议基本上由俄罗斯提出,都得到中国支持:要么得到中国联署,要么中国投票支持。

In view of the United States’ strong opposition to PPWT-based negotiations and obstruction of a legally binding international treaty banning space weapons, China and Russia proposed to the General Assembly that it organize a GGE to negotiate an international legal instrument to limit space weapons as a basis for disarmament negotiations. This proposal was adopted by General Assembly resolution A/RES/72/250. Despite its opposition to the resolution, the Trump administration nonetheless sent a representative to the GGE. Given the unanimous decision voting format of the report, the opposition of the U.S. government meant that a consensus report was a lost cause, and the international community once again lost an opportunity to limit the weaponization of space.


The resolutions adopted by the United Nations on the prevention of an arms race in space, and the accompanying related resolutions, are not legally binding. Moreover, these resolutions have all been rejected by the United States and cannot fundamentally restrain it from weaponizing space. In fact, the originator of the weaponization of space in the post-Cold War era was the United States, and the goal of preventing an arms race in space and controlling space armaments can only be truly achieved by reaching a legally binding international treaty with the United States prohibiting the weaponization of space. The Conference on Disarmament is the international community’s most important multilateral platform for conducting arms control and disarmament negotiations, and the agreements reached by it are the most legitimate and authoritative. In order to put into practice the joint statements of the two countries, and for the sake of the security of both countries and the sake of international security, China and Russia also work closely together in the Conference on Disarmament, making strenuous efforts to limit the weaponization of space.


When the United States was about to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, China and Russia promptly submitted to the Conference on Disarmament statements or meeting information of the two governments on ABM issues, as well as on global strategic issues, and expressed to the Conference their concern about the threat to global strategic stability posed by the construction of the U.S. missile defense system and withdrawal from the ABM Treaty (e.g., CD/1584, CD/1605, CD/1622, CD/1665) 23. After the United States insisted on expanding and upgrading its ABM system and developing space weapons, China and Russia informed the Conference on Disarmament and submitted joint statements by their heads of state on this issue, such as the joint statements on global strategic stability in 2016 and 2019 (CD/2066, CD/2161).


If the above-mentioned cooperation between the two countries in the Conference on Disarmament was merely mutual moral support, their cooperation on the draft legal instrument and treaty banning the weaponization of space was substantive cooperation in banning the weaponization of space. After the U.S. government had shown signs of withdrawing or deciding to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, the international community could only prohibit the weaponization of space through a new treaty. Before proposing a draft treaty, the first task was to determine the international legal elements of a ban on weapons in space. In 2002, Russia and China jointly submitted to the Conference on Disarmament the “Elements of an international legal instrument on the prevention of the deployment of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects” (CD/1679) to serve as a concrete legal basis for the prevention of an arms race in space. All parties gave feedback on the main points of the international legal instrument. China and Russia further organized and compiled the feedback, and proposed amendments and supplements. In 2006, they submitted the compiled opinions to the Conference on Disarmament (CD/1769). Since then, the two countries have cooperated on specific issues related to the prohibition of the weaponization of space, such as treaty verification mechanisms and the definition of space terms, and submitted working papers CD/1779, CD/1780 and CD/1781 to the Conference on Disarmament, seeking to lay the legal foundation for the formal introduction of a treaty to prohibit the weaponization of space. In 2008, at the Conference on Disarmament, China and Russia formally proposed a draft treaty on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and of the threat or use of force against outer space objects (PPWT) (CD/1839). The Russian-Chinese draft treaty elicited reactions from various parties, including the Conference on Disarmament, the European Union, the United States, and and other Western countries. The United States and the European Union opposed it and gave reasons for their opposition. China and Russia responded to this (CD/1872) and communicated extensively with the international community. An amendment to the draft PPWT was then submitted to the Conference on Disarmament in 2014 (CD/1985). After the amended version was published, it drew further responses (CD/1998) from the United States and other parties that remained opposed. China and Russia again provided feedback on those responses (CD/2042), and the Trump administration provided additional comments (CD/2129). Overall, with the United States determined to develop space armaments, the PPWT would never receive U.S. approval, no matter how much China and Russia refined it, but China and Russia have nonetheless insisted on discussing improvements to the text with the international community. Due to the United States’ opposition, based on the rules of procedure, the Conference on Disarmament has reached an impasse on the topic of banning the weaponization of space.


China and Russia cooperate closely in space diplomacy, aiming to prevent an arms race in space, prohibit the weaponization of space, ensure the peaceful use of space, and contribute to their own security and international security. Since the prevention of an arms race in space and the prohibition of weapons in space are in the interests of both countries, they have fully cooperated with each other since the end of the Cold War. Cooperation in the form of mutual support on space diplomacy is different from cooperation in space technology, and does not involve technology or intellectual property issues. Of course, Russia’s ability and experience in setting the space agenda are superior to China’s, and space-related issues before the UN General Assembly are essentially Russian initiatives.


III. Geopolitical factors in space cooperation


The Sino-Russian relationship has undergone many changes, from “mutually friendly countries,” “constructive partnership,” and “a partnership based on equality and mutual trust for the purpose of strategic interaction in the twenty-first century,” to “a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination based on equality, mutual trust, mutual support, common prosperity, and lasting friendship.” Bilateral relations have made a qualitative leap, and a new type of Sino-Russian relations has been established that is “non-aligned, non-confrontational, and not targeted at third parties,” and political friendship and trust have laid a firm foundation for in-depth cooperation between the two countries in various fields. China-Russia space technology cooperation is the result of the deepening development of relations between China and Russia, whether that cooperation is in space equipment (e.g., rockets, satellite-borne electronics) or joint technology research (e.g., space materials), or in data cooperation (e.g., deep space exploration information) or technical and policy cooperation involving space security. It is a concrete manifestation of the close relationship between the two countries. The expansion and deepening of once-non-existent space cooperation between the two countries also resulted from the respective space development dynamics of China and Russia, while the United States has been a key variable as well.


From the end of the Cold War to the [2014] Ukraine crisis, Russia and China were quite cautious in their cooperation in space, despite the obvious improvement in relations between the two countries and their development into a “comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination,” which is considered a “quasi-alliance” in the West. Cooperation between the two countries in space technology lacked depth and was limited to cooperation in the sale of space suits, astronaut training, Russia carrying Chinese spacecraft, and the sale of basic components, and less often to cooperation in satellite information data and launch vehicle technology. “The two sides have been promoting the idea of joint research and use of space for peaceful purposes since the beginning of the 21st century, but for a long time there were no breakthroughs to speak of in cooperation.”24 In particular, at times of great achievements in China’s manned spaceflight, BeiDou system, and lunar exploration projects, or when they were about to make great achievements or afterwards, Russia significantly slowed down the process of space cooperation with China. “This kind of cooperation was modest in scale in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and this momentum has waned since then.” 25 Moreover, a leader of the Russian space agency has confirmed this indirectly. In 2005, Nikolai Moiseyev, then deputy head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, admitted that “Russia must undertake some ‘serious projects’ jointly with China.”26 In other words, Russia had basically not seriously considered real space technology cooperation with China, or one could say that previous cooperation was formal and remained superficial, even with the signing of cooperation agreements.


The difficulty in advancing such cooperation lay partly in the fact that Russia and China had yet to sign an agreement on the protection of intellectual property rights in space fields, but the real reason was that Russia considered itself technologically advanced in space and feared that “serious” cooperation with China would develop China into a competitor. In Russia’s view, the emergence of a United States-Russia-China triad in space would make it unable to enjoy a bipolar U.S.-Russian space order. The “mystery” was laid bare in a December 2006 statement by Anatoly Perminov, then head of the Russian Space Agency. He said that, despite the rapid development of China’s space program and the fact that it was catching up with Russia, China was still some 30 years behind Russia, and that in view of China’s own rapid development, Russia “will not transfer space technology to China” in the future, the cooperation between the two countries in scientific exploration notwithstanding. In November 2006, the Russian Federal Security Service arrested the general manager of a company for selling unauthorized information to China that could be used to improve Chinese missile technology,27 and the general manager was sentenced to prison by a Russian federal court. This action by the Russian government showed that Russia was extremely concerned about the sale of sensitive rocket technology to China, fearing that China would catch up in the space field and worrying that the space landscape and dynamics would develop in China’s favor and against Russia’s.28 Of course, Russia justified its arrest on the grounds of “maintaining the international non-proliferation regime.” As is well known, launch vehicle engines are indeed the core technical components of missiles. Russia banned the export of RD-180 rocket engines to China on the grounds that doing so would violate the Missile Technology Control Regime. Russia let the engines be sold to the United States, however, and even after being subjected to U.S. sanctions, it did not use the mechanism mentioned above to initiate counter-sanctions. This once again showed that Russia did not want to promote the improvement of Chinese space technology through cooperation, and turn China into a competitor. In general, in the first phase, on one hand, Russia considered its space technology superior to China’s, so cooperation in space was a “gift” to China. On the other hand, with the development of Chinese space technology, including manned spaceflight, Russia was wary of cooperation because it feared that China would overtake it.

出现上述合作难以推进的原因,部分在于中俄尚未就太空领域的知识产权保护签署协定,但真正的原因在于俄罗斯认为自己的太空技术先进,担心与中国进行“严肃的”合作,会把中国培养成竞争对手。在俄罗斯看来,太空出现美俄中三足鼎立局面,使其无法享受美俄太空两极秩序。2006年12月,时任俄罗斯航天局局长佩尔米诺夫(Anatoly Perminov)的谈话道出了其中的“玄机”。他说,尽管中国太空项目发展很快,而且正在赶超俄罗斯,但是中国仍落后俄罗斯大约30年;鉴于中国自身快速发展,尽管两国在科学探索上有合作,未来俄罗斯“不再向中国转让太空技术”。2006年11月俄罗斯联邦安全局逮捕了一家公司的总经理,理由是该公司向中国出售了未经批准的、可以用来提高中国导弹技术的信息,且这名总经理被俄联邦法院判刑入狱。俄罗斯政府的这一行为表明,俄罗斯对向中国出售火箭敏感技术极为关切,担心中国在航天领域赶超,忧虑太空格局与态势向有利于中国、不利于俄罗斯的方向发展。当然,俄罗斯以“维护国际防扩散机制”为理由,证明其逮捕行为的合法性与合理性。众所周知,运载火箭的引擎确实是导弹的核心技术部件。俄罗斯以出口到中国会违反《导弹及其技术控制机制》为由,禁止向中国出口RD-180火箭发动机。但是,俄罗斯放手向美国出售该引擎,即使在遭受美国制裁之后,俄罗斯也没有利用上述机制发起反制裁。这再一次说明,俄罗斯不想通过合作促进中国太空技术的提高,使中国成为自身的竞争对手。总体上,在第一阶段,一方面因为俄罗斯自认为其太空技术优于中国,进行太空合作是对中国的“恩赐”。另一方面,随着中国包括载人航天在内的太空技术的发展,俄罗斯担心中国后来居上,因此对合作一直持有戒心。

The continued development of bilateral relations between China and Russia justified further promotion and deepening of space technology cooperation. However, Sino-Russian relations are complex and sensitive, and easily affected by political realism. In addition to the existence of a significant portion of pro-Western forces within Russia and the sowing of discord between Russia and China by the United States and the West, from a power transfer point of view, Russia’s decline from Soviet-era superpower to one of the world’s top powers resulted in a significant psychological disconnect and feelings about China’s rise were complicated. Therefore, in the first phase of China-Russia space cooperation, Russia did not have a sincere desire to cooperate with China. At that time, Russia preferred to cooperate with the West, led by the United States, in exchange for the West’s recognition of Russia’s democratic transformation and market economy. In fact, the United States, Europe and the West have always been Russia’s priority choices for partners in cooperation. They formed the Sea Launch and International Launch Services companies to provide commercial launches for Russia, cooperated with Russia in assembling and operating the International Space Station, purchased seats on manned Russian spacecraft, and purchased the RD-180 rocket engines mentioned above. Russia has been ambivalent about the traditional Sino-Russian cooperation projects that rely on geopolitics. On one hand, this is because Russia held the traditional view that sees the depth of ties between Russia and China in reference to Russia’s relations with the West. 29 On the other hand, although Russia extended an olive branch of space cooperation to China to promote Sino-Russian relations and alleviate the strategic pressure exerted on it by the United States, the European Union, and NATO, it feared that cooperation between the two countries would promote China’s technological progress in space, thereby diminishing its voice in Sino-Russian relations. Moreover, based on the principle of reciprocal cooperation, Russian space technology was undoubtedly more advanced than China’s at a given time and place, and even if the two countries were to cooperate, Russia would derive far less relative benefit from it than China, especially in space technology. Because of the technological gap, the degree of Russian-Chinese space cooperation was not as high as Russian-US space cooperation,30 so Russian-Chinese space cooperation was limited to a buying and selling relationship for some time. More importantly, Russia’s fear that China’s rise would impinge upon its political and economic interests led to further conservatism in China-Russia cooperation in science and technology. Despite the growing closeness of the Russian-Chinese strategic partnership politically, the level of scientific and technological (S&T) cooperation had not lived up to the expectations for the political vision.

中俄双边关系持续发展,理应进一步推动与深化太空技术合作。但是,中俄关系复杂且敏感,容易受现实主义政治的影响。除了俄罗斯国内存在相当一部分亲西方力量、美国与西方在中俄之间挑拨离间之外,从权力转移来看,俄罗斯从苏联时代的超级大国,衰落到世界一强,心理落差明显,对中国崛起心情复杂。因此,在中俄太空合作的第一阶段,俄罗斯并非出自内心想与中国合作。那时俄罗斯更倾向同以美国为首的西方合作,换取西方对俄罗斯民主转型与市场经济的认可。而且事实上,在选择合作对象方面,美国、欧洲等西方一直是俄罗斯的优先选项。它们组建海上发射公司(Sea Launch)和国际发射服务公司(International Launch Services),为俄罗斯提供商业发射,同俄罗斯合作组装与运转国际空间站;从俄罗斯购买载人飞船座位,以及购买前述的RD-180火箭发动机。俄罗斯在中俄传统的依赖地缘政治开展的合作项目上一直存在矛盾心理:一方面是由于俄罗斯持有中俄之间的交际深度参照俄罗斯与西方关系的传统思维,另一方面,虽然俄罗斯向中国抛出太空合作的橄榄枝,促进中俄关系以减轻美国、欧盟、北约给其施加的战略压力,但又担心两国合作促进中国太空技术进步,导致其在中俄关系中的话语权缩小。此外,根据对等合作的原则,在特定的时空俄罗斯太空技术无疑比中国先进,即便两国进行合作,俄罗斯从中获取的相对收益远不如中国,尤其是在太空技术方面。因为技术存在差距,俄中太空合作程度不如俄美太空合作,因此中俄在一段时间内的太空合作只限于买卖关系。更重要的是,俄罗斯担心中国的崛起会触及其政治经济利益,这使其在中俄科技合作上进一步趋于保守。尽管中俄战略伙伴关系在政治上进一步密切,但是在科技合作程度上并不符合政治设想的预期。

The crisis in Ukraine, and especially the annexation of Crimea by Russia, led the West to impose tougher sanctions on Russia, once again demonstrating that the West fundamentally distrusts Russia and still sees Russia as a security threat, especially with Biden having called Putin a “killer.” Although the West has reduced the intensity of sanctions against Russia to a certain degree, such as when the U.S. “lifted” sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, Russia’s unprecedented isolation has not weakened. Under the influence of Western sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic, the lack of funding for the development of Russia’s space industry, and the aging and loss of S&T personnel, including in the space field, have combined to further slow the development of Russia’s space technology and industry, and there are even difficulties in maintaining satellite ground facilities. The progress of space projects, especially large-scale space projects, is lagging behind expectations, or even seriously behind. The fact that the number of Russian satellites in orbit has not increased much in the past few years is a clear sign: Russia had 133 satellites in orbit at the end of 2015 and 176 at the end of 2020, an increase of 43 satellites in 5 years, or about 8 satellites per year. At the same time, the total number of Chinese and American satellites in orbit rose from 177 and 568 to 412 and 1,897, respectively, representing average increases of 47 and 266 per year.31 Russia’s commercial space launches are struggling, and development momentum is clearly insufficient.32


At the same time, development of China’s space industry has been rapid, especially in the 21st century, and China’s space technology has become increasingly sophisticated. Construction of the BeiDou system has been completed, providing navigation and positioning services worldwide. Manned spaceflight and experimental space stations have also made world-renowned achievements. Since its astronauts first entered space in 2003, China has mastered such key technologies as stationing in space, and docking of the Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft with the Tiangong-2 space laboratory. In 2022, China’s space station will finish its setup and officially begin operation. With China’s development in the fields of human spaceflight and space stations, Russia is losing or will lose its traditional edge in these fields. China’s deep space exploration program has also made impressive achievements. China’s Chang’e project achieved the three-step strategic goal of “orbit, land and return” and has achieved several world firsts in lunar exploration missions, such as the first landing on the far side of the Moon. The world’s new wave of lunar exploration is partly due to the smooth progress of China’s lunar exploration program and its great achievements. It also forced the Trump administration to change from first doing manned exploration of Mars to putting manned lunar exploration first, hoping to achieve another manned lunar landing earlier than China.33 China’s Tianwen-1 Mars rover departed for Mars In July 2020 and successfully landed on the planet on May 15, 2021 to begin scientific exploration. “By completing the three major missions of “orbiting, landing and patrolling” in one go, which neither the United States nor the Soviet Union has attempted, Tianwen-1 proved that China’s deep space exploration technology is comparable to that of the United States, and may surpass, or at least match, that of Russia. China has also made great progress in commercial spaceflight, with 123 private space enterprises by 2019, accounting for 90% of domestic commercial space companies.34 Chinese commercial spaceflight is currently focused on commercial satellite constellations for communications, remote sensing, the internet, and the internet of things, and may expand to space tourism and space mining as technology develops. More importantly, Chinese commercial spaceflight is also developing launch vehicles and has made considerable progress. Based on the current state of China’s space development, China’s dream of becoming a space superpower is not far away: It will strive to join the ranks of space powers in 2030 and have a greater international voice; and it will achieve its goal of becoming a space superpower in 2045, “with world-leading and original space products, occupying the high end of the global space economy production chain.”35


The development of China’s space technology and industry and the advancement of its space program have propelled China’s rapid space power development. Russia’s space technology, industry, and program have progressed more slowly, and the pace of its development has been far below China’s. China’s leap in space technology has led to a relatively substantial reduction in Russia’s overall space advantage, and its sense of superiority has fallen along with it. While Russia still has certain advantages, by expanding and deepening cooperation with China and mutually complementing advantages with China in the fields of deep space exploration and navigation satellites, Russia can exchange its advantages for technologies and equipment it does not have, based on the principle of reciprocity. Therefore, Russia decided to cooperate in the field of positioning and navigation satellites, which was a breakthrough in space cooperation with China. In this second stage, Russia is cooperating with China in space technology on an equal footing, with almost no sense of superiority, and has provided China with missile early warning system technology, while China has given Russia corresponding assistance in space technology.


Nevertheless, in the process of China-Russia space cooperation, there are three aspects that indeed surpass the geopolitical considerations between China and Russia, and this is beyond doubt.


One: China-Russia space cooperation promotes the development of space technology in both countries and plays an important role in forming a stable China-United States-Russia triangular relationship in space, which is in the interests of both countries. First of all, Russia’s space technology assistance to China has allowed China to become the third manned spaceflight country and also promoted the progress of China’s space technology. Russia has unique advantages in the manned spaceflight field, including space suit manufacturing, but also manned spaceflight monitoring and communication, which are lacking in the Chinese space sector. Secondly, the two countries’ close cooperation on launch vehicle engines and global navigation systems, and their commitment to cooperation on an international lunar station, etc., will not only contribute to the joint progress of Russian and Chinese space technology, but will also help in building strategic stability and a balanced landscape in space, in making space a common heritage of all mankind, and in striving to put into practice the principles and purposes of the peaceful uses of space as established in the preamble and Article I of the Outer Space Treaty. And thirdly, space cooperation between the two countries will be conducive to the development of the space production chains of both sides. The West’s scientific and technological blockade of China and Russia also pushes the two countries to cooperate in science and technology, including space. The S&T cooperation between the two countries will help them release their scientific research potential, using space technology as traction and a springboard to jointly promote S&T development in order to promote economic structural transformation and industrial structure upgrading. At the same time, they can also give full play to their comparative advantages in the space field, expand and extend production chains, form a new division of labor system, drive the development of technology overall, and enhance their ability to resist Western sanctions.


Two: Space cooperation between China and Russia has enhanced mutual political trust between the two countries and further deepened their strategic partnership. As with Russia’s sales of advanced weaponry to China, the two countries’ cooperation in space technology likewise promotes a high degree of political trust between the two sides, since space technology is itself dual-use technology. The two countries’ mutual notification of rocket and missile launches within their respective territories, in particular, further illustrates the military mutual trust between the two countries, which is a further deepening and manifestation of their political mutual trust. This is a solid foundation for building the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. Another pillar for building the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is the cooperation between the two countries in the anti-missile system and nuclear fields, including joint anti-missile network exercises and Russian assistance to China in the development of missile early warning systems. Cooperation in the anti-missile system and early warning system fields is strategic cooperation between the two countries in the space field. If the mutual notification of launches can be called a superficial level of military mutual trust between the two sides, the close cooperation between the two countries in the above two fields is a high level of mutual trust at the military strategic level. When complemented by China and Russia’s future joint establishment of a space data center for sharing space information and grasping important information on what is happening or about to happen in space and on Earth, military strategic mutual trust will be pushed to an even higher stage.


Three: Cooperation between the two countries on space diplomacy will further consolidate and deepen the strategic partnership. China and Russia alike face strategic pressure from U.S. anti-missile systems and space weapons, and the two countries have cooperated with each other at the United Nations, the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and the Conference on Disarmament, making ceaseless efforts to prevent an arms race in space and contribute to the maintenance of global strategic stability, as well as making arduous efforts to build a fair and just space governance system. This is a concrete and vivid demonstration of the China-Russia strategic partnership in the diplomatic sphere.


The space cooperation between China and Russia strongly underpins the overall stability of the space landscape and adds a bumper to global strategic stability. After all, space systems are closely related to strategic nuclear deterrence capability, and space systems provide the “eyes and ears” of nuclear forces, enabling them to strike with precision.


IV. China-Russia cooperation shapes space geopolitics


China-Russia space cooperation is the result of space geopolitics, and space cooperation between the two countries will likewise reshape space geopolitics. It will: Contribute to the relative stability of the space order, specifically by contributing to the multipolarity of space; prevent celestial bodies such as the Moon from being enclosed by the United States and other countries; and prevent the weaponization of space, which will have an important impact on the formation of the future rules of space governance and the shaping of the future space landscape.


The key to maintaining a multipolar space hinges on a relatively stable China-United States-Russia space triangle. For a time after the end of the Cold War, the United States stood alone in space and enjoyed an absolute space dominance that was unprecedented. However, as the times and space have changed, many actors have made space achievements symbols of national honor and international status, and have therefore invested huge amounts of money in space activities. India has not only launched the Chandrayaan-1, which orbited the Moon and planted the Indian flag on it, but has also successfully launched a Mars probe, achieving considerable results. In order to promote space development, Japan enacted the Basic Law of Space, which established the legal basis for it to conduct space activities, especially military activities in space. Japan’s space industry has also developed rapidly, not only pioneering post-Cold War lunar exploration, but also launching Hayabusa, a satellite dedicated to mining asteroid resources, and it has already returned with samples. And as we have seen, China’s space endeavors have achieved world-renowned accomplishments. Overall, Asia appears to be emerging as a group in the space sector.36 Europe (including European Space Agency and EU member states) also has over 100 satellites. Russia once invested its copious oil revenues in space to promote the development of the space industry, but it historical debts were even greater, and the space industry did not achieve the anticipated results, so much so that when the Russo-Georgian War broke out in 2008, Russian frontline commanders had to borrow journalists’ cell phones to command their troops. More importantly, Russian strategic aircraft were shot down by missiles during the war, which further exposed Russia’s serious lack of military reconnaissance satellites, early warning satellites, communication satellites, etc. Learning from bitter experience, after the Russo-Georgian War, Russia was determined to reverse the declining trend in space. It increased investment in space, developed new launch vehicles, built the a launch sight in the Russian Far East, upgraded infrastructure for space activities, formulated a space business plan, and drove the development of the entire space program through large-scale space projects. It has also achieved considerable results.37 National space power can basically be measured by the number of satellites in orbit. The United States has the largest number of satellites in orbit, followed by China, with Russia third. The European Space Agency, EU member states, Japan, and India all have dozens of satellites. Space thus presents a “one superpower, many strong players” landscape, and China, the United States, and Russia generally maintain a relatively stable triangular relationship, albeit not an equilateral one.38 The United States, China, and Russia had 568, 177, and 133 satellites in orbit, respectively (at the end of 2015). It is this largely stable triangular relationship that has maintained the overall stability of the space order.


However, with the outbreak of the [2014] crisis in Ukraine, and especially since the Trump administration took office, the space landscape has taken on an asymmetrical character, with an almost entirely one-sided tilt toward the United States.


With the strategic goal of preserving space hegemony or delaying its decline, the United States is determined to maintain the number one position in the number of satellites in orbit, and to widen the gap with other countries. Even if China and Russia were to have more satellite launches than the United States, the United States can still ensure that it remains number one in the number of satellites put into orbit each year by using the one rocket-multiple satellite approach Especially in recent years, with private companies such as SpaceX going into space, the United States has significantly increased the number of satellites put into orbit, leaving any other country far behind. In this way, its number of satellites rose from 568 at the end of 2015 to 1,897 at the end of 2020. During the same period, Russia, which has suffered from Western sanctions, made slow progress in its space endeavors and has not seen much increase in the number of satellites in orbit, which only rose from 133 to 176. China, on the other hand, has had strong growth momentum, and the increase in the number of its satellites in orbit has still been considerable, rising from 177 to 412. However, the gap between China, the United States, and Russia in the number of satellites in orbit is still widening dramatically. Even if you add the number of satellites of China and Russia together, it is only 588, and there is still a gap of 1309 satellites with the United States. The number of U.S. satellites is more than three times the number of Chinese and Russian satellites combined. If SpaceX’s “Starlink” program, Boeing’s plans for hundreds or thousands of satellites, and other plans are realized, and adding U.S. military satellites, the total number of U.S. satellites would be 50,000 or so, which no other country would be able to match. If this situation continues to develop, the “one superpower” position of the United States within the space landscape will strengthen, and the China-United States-Russia space triangle may cease to exist.

出于维护太空霸权或延缓太空霸权衰落的战略目标,美国决心维持在轨卫星数量第一的地位,扩大与其他国家的差距。即使中俄太空发射次数超过美国,美国也能用一箭多星的方式确保每年入轨卫星数量保持第一。尤其是最近几年,随着诸如太空探索公司(Space X)等私人公司走向太空,美国入轨卫星数量大幅度提升,已经把其他任何国家远远甩在后面。这样,其卫星数量从2015年底的568颗上升到2020年底的1897颗。同一时期,遭受西方制裁的俄罗斯太空事业进展缓慢,在轨卫星数量增加并不多,仅从133颗增加到176颗。而中国的发展势头强劲,在轨卫星数量增加的幅度还是相当可观的,从177颗上升到412颗。然而,中美、俄美在轨卫星数量的差距还是在急剧扩大。即使是中俄两国卫星加起来也只有588颗,与美国还有1309颗的差距,美国卫星数是中俄总和的3倍多。如果美国太空探索公司“星链”计划、波音公司数百颗、上千颗卫星等计划全部实现,加上美国军方的卫星,美国卫星总数应该在5万颗左右,这是其他任何一个国家都无法望其项背的。如果这种情况继续发展下去,太空格局将强化美国的“一超”地位,中美俄太空三角可能不复存在。

This trend is detrimental to the stability of the space landscape. With the expansion and deepening of China-Russia space cooperation, there is bound to be rapid development of mutual cooperation between their research institutes and enterprises, whether in state-led space projects or in commercial space projects, and the number of state-owned satellites and commercial satellite constellations launched by the two countries will certainly increase a great deal, narrowing the gap with the United States. The joint China-Russia effort to build an international lunar research station is changing the structure of international space cooperation, welcoming more countries to participate. Turkey has shown a keen interest in exploring the moon, with [President] Erdogan saying the country plans to make its first contact with the Moon in 2023 to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Turkish Republic. More importantly, Turkey also wants to become a player in the space game.39


China-Russia space cooperation, especially lunar cooperation, has important significance for ensuring that the Moon and other celestial bodies are not enclosed by the United States. In order to seek sovereignty over the Moon and other celestial bodies, the U.S. government has adopted a “four-step” approach: First, grant ownership rights to entities to exploit space resources; next, deny the legal status of the Moon and other celestial bodies as a global commons; then, deny the Moon Agreement and encourage non-state actors to seek sovereignty over celestial bodies by developing lunar and other resources; and finally, legitimize sovereignty over celestial bodies with a so-called New Moon Agreement.


First, the United States granted ownership rights to companies to exploit space resources. In November 2015, President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act.40 The law legitimizes space mining, clarifies private property rights for space resources, provides certain liability protections for space tourism and asteroid development companies, and simplifies approval procedures, so as to motivate private enterprises to engage in commercial manned spaceflight activities. The law also encourages U.S. companies to develop asteroid resources.


Next, the United States denied the legal status of space as a global commons. In 2018, the U.S. Congress passed the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act, which takes the power to manage non-governmental spaceflight activities from NASA and gives it to the Commerce Department. The intent is clear: to encourage the commercial development of celestial body resources. The bill also begins by stating, “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, outer space shall not be considered a global commons,” directly denying the “global commons” status of space.41 Previously, in 2017, Scott Pace, executive secretary of the Trump administration’s National Space Council (NSC), tried to build momentum for denying space’s legal status as a global commons: “Space is not a ‘global commons’ or the ‘common heritage of mankind;’ it is not ‘public property’ or a ‘public good.'”42 The 2015 law gives property rights in space resources to private entities under the circumstance that space is a “global commons”; the 2018 law is tantamount to giving ownership of space resources, including celestial bodies, to private entities.

其次,美国否定太空为全球公地的法律地位。2018年美国众议院通过《美国太空商业自由企业法案》,把非政府航天活动的管理权限从国家航空航天局(NASA)收回,赋予商务部,其意图很明显,就是鼓励商业开发天体资源。而且法案还开宗明义地说明,“尽管有任何其他法律规定,外层空间不应被视为全球公域”,直接否定了太空的“全球公地”地位。而此前,2017年特朗普政府的国家太空委员会(NSC)执行秘书佩斯(Scott Pace),为否定太空作为“全球公地”法律地位造势:太空不是“全球公地”,也不是“人类共同遗产”;不是“公有财产”,也不是“公共物品”。2015年的法律是在把太空作为“全球公地”的情况下将太空资源财产权赋予私人实体;2018年的律等于将太空资源包括天体的所有权赋予了私人实体。

Then, by means of an executive order, came denial that the Moon Agreement was customary law. In April 2020, President Trump issued an executive order that “encourages the international community to support the recovery and use of space resources,” reiterating that space is not a global commons, and that “Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space.” In addition, the executive order holds that the Moon Agreement is not a valid or necessary instrument to guide nations in promoting commercial participation in the long-term exploration, scientific discovery, and use of the Moon, Mars, or other celestial bodies, and orders that the Secretary of State shall oppose any attempt by any other nation or international organization to treat the Moon Agreement as reflecting or otherwise expressing customary international law.43 Nominally, this executive order supports NASA’s mission to return to the Moon, but in reality it wants NASA to lead private entities to develop technologies, seize sovereignty over the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies, and seek “America on the Moon” and “America on Mars” in deep space.


And finally, the United States has attempted to bypass the United Nations and formulate a new moon agreement to seek legitimacy for seizing sovereignty over celestial bodies. Although the Moon Agreement formulated by the United Nations in 1979 is a dead letter, it still has the characteristics of international customary law. The United States announced that the Moon Agreement is not a legal instrument to guide deep space development, and a new framework must be created to “regulate” the development of deep space resources such as the moon. The United States signed the Artemis Accords44 in October 2020 with seven allies, and three more joined later. Its relevant clauses declare that specific areas of the Moon are “safety zones” for resource development, which actually paves the way for the United States and other Western countries and private companies to legalize lunar enclosure. They constitute a “space version of NATO” in an attempt to seize lunar sovereignty.


The “four step” approach of the United States for seizing sovereignty over the Moon, Mars and other celestial bodies, has some points that merit attention. First, using the loopholes of the Outer Space Treaty allows non-state actors to seize celestial bodies such as the Moon. The United States has taken advantage of the loophole in the Outer Space Treaty’s principle of non-appropriation by state actors, that is, states cannot seek sovereignty over celestial bodies, and has accordingly raised the banner of non-state actors, letting them take the lead in enclosing the Moon and Mars. Second, in denying the legal status of the Moon and Mars as a global commons, sovereignty over celestial bodies is sought, with enclosures made on celestial bodies through a first-come-first-get approach. Third, the so-called new Moon agreement is used to replace the Moon Agreement in order to put a cloak of legitimization on the pursuit of sovereignty over celestial bodies. The “new Moon agreement” includes provisions of the celestial body sovereignty sort, providing a legitimizing basis for the United States to pursue sovereignty over celestial bodies. U.S. government-led spacecraft may carry out manned lunar landings in 2024, with manned spacecraft from SpaceX and Boeing likely to follow on the moon or Mars. If the United States and other Western countries achieve public and private manned landings on the Moon or Mars, they will use the development and use of the “safety zones” as a pretext to seize the opportunity for the United States to acquire in disguise most of the sovereignty over celestial bodies such as the Moon and Mars.


In view of the attempts of the United States and other Western countries to seek sovereignty over celestial bodies under the pretext of deep space exploration and planetary resource development, China and Russia have repeatedly signed agreements on deep space exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies, jointly exploring and landing on the Moon, establishing their own lunar bases, and setting up a joint lunar research station open to the world. This indicates to the world that any attempt by any country to use advanced technology to enclose the Moon and Mars will be strongly opposed by China and Russia, which are determined to preserve the status and properties of the Moon and other celestial bodies as a global commons and the common heritage of all mankind. In the words of Namrata Goswami, the lunar cooperation memorandum signed by Russia and China sends a clear signal to the United States and its seven partner countries that the rules of space are controversial, and they oppose a United States-dominated space order. For Russia, it means “reclaiming the erstwhile Soviet leadership in space.” Once Russia and China attract enough partner countries to cooperate in international lunar research stations, they will have enough influence to create a community of interest and launch initiatives on regulatory mechanisms for lunar exploration and development, making the United States-led Artemis Agreement unattractive.45 China and Russia will certainly leverage their technological prowess to launch space rules initiatives and write the rules of space governance in various settings.

鉴于美国等西方国家借口进行深空探测与行星资源开发谋求天体主权的企图,中国与俄罗斯多次签署有关月球等天体的深空探测协议,联合探月与登月,建立各自的月球基地,并建立联合月球科研站,向全球开放。这向世界表明,任何国家企图利用先进技术圈占月球、火星,都将遭到中国与俄罗斯的强烈反对,两国坚决维护月球等天体“全球公地”的地位与属性,作为全人类的共同遗产。用纳姆拉塔·戈斯瓦米(Namrata Goswami)的话说,中俄两国签署的月球合作备忘录向美国及其7个伙伴国发出明确信号,太空规则是有争议的,反对美国主导的太空秩序;对于俄罗斯来说,这意味着“重新夺回昔日苏联在太空的领导地位”;一旦中俄吸引到足够多的伙伴国参与国际月球科研站合作,那么将拥有足够的影响力,创建一个利益共同体,发起有关月球探测与开发的监管机制倡议,使美国主导的《阿忒尔弥斯协定》失去吸引力。中俄必将利用强大的技术,在各种场合下,发起太空规则倡议,书写太空治理规则。

Sino-Russian space cooperation also adds a bumper to space security. As mentioned above, the doctrine of space power developed during the Cold War era has been tested in various local wars since the end of the Cold War, and the United States has further strengthened its space dominance, developed space weapons, and built its global strike system and global defense system. The objectives of U.S. space strategy are freedom of action in space and control of space. The two are mutually reinforcing. The goal of controlling space is to pursue freedom of action in space, and freedom of action in space is a concrete expression of control of space. If a country obstructs its freedom of action in space, the United States will use various means and methods, including space weapons and nuclear weapons, to deprive the other country of the use of space, causing it to lose its military power “multiplier” and “enabler.” The Trump administration has also established a Space Force and an Integrated Space Command to unify the space weapons systems of all military services and be in charge of space operations. In June 2020, the U.S. Department of Defense issued the Defense Space Strategy Summary, which further clarifies the functions of the Space Force, seeks total space dominance, and integrates the entire military combat system, in order to win strategic, operational, and tactical victories in competition between powers.46 To legitimize and rationalize its space weaponization policies and practices, the U.S. government has had NATO endorse them. At the 2019 NATO Summit, NATO announced it was treating space as an area of operations.47 The approach of the United States and NATO is undoubtedly to make space a battleground. In addition, the United States, Japan, France, and Germany have strengthened ties among their space forces to enhance cooperation in the field of space operations.48 To facilitate its own development of space weapons, the United States opposes a legally binding international treaty banning such weapons. No matter how hard China and Russia try, the United States simply will not include PPWT on the agenda at the Commission on Disarmament, putting negotiations on space arms control at the Commission in a deadlock.


The weaponization of space by the United States and its allies in NATO and elsewhere is undoubtedly causing damage to the peaceful use of space, and to global strategic stability and balance. As we have seen, China and Russia have expressed serious concerns and worries about this. According to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, China and Russia have multiple means of counter-space capability at their disposal,49 and the U.S. Department of Defense believes that their military power in space poses the most direct and serious threat to the United States.50 In fact, China and Russia possess some degree of anti-satellite capability, and they have held joint cyber anti-missile exercises as a direct response to the United States’ weaponization of space and refusal to conclude an international treaty banning the weaponization of space. Although the two countries’ space cooperation does not directly involve anti-satellite content, cooperation in the field of space technology, which is dual-use technology, has a strong connotations of a military alliance in space. China-Russia cooperation on space debris monitoring and remote sensing data will help improve the space situational awareness of both countries, improve their ability to identify threats from space and from Earth, and provide a basis for joint military operations. In addition, President Putin announced in 2019 that Russia is helping China build a missile early warning system. This was a strong signal that the two countries are cooperating substantively in the military space field, enhancing the defense partnership between Russia and China, and potentially forming a joint Sino-Russian anti-missile system.51

美国与北约等盟国太空武器化的做法,无疑给和平利用太空、全球战略稳定与平衡造成破坏。如前所述,中俄两国对此表达了严重的关切与担忧。根据美国战略与国际问题研究中心(CSIS)的报告,中俄两国具备多种手段 的反太空能力,美国国防部认为中俄两国太空军力给美国造成了最直接、最严峻的威胁。事实上,中俄两国拥有一定程度的反卫星能力,并曾举行联合网络反导演习,是对美国太空武器化、并拒绝达成禁止太空武器化国际条约的直接反应。虽然两国太空合作并没有直接涉及反卫星内容,但是在作为军民两用的太空技术领域进行合作,本身就具有较强的太空军事联手的意涵。中俄在太空碎片监视、遥感数据上的合作,有助于提升两国太空态势感知能力,增强识别来自太空、来自地球威胁的能力,为联合军事行动提供了基础。此外,2019年普京总统宣布,俄罗斯正在帮助中国建设早期导弹预警系统,这是一个强烈的信号,表明两国在太空军事领域进行着实质性合作,增进了中俄两国防务伙伴关系,有可能形成中俄联合反导系统。

The possibility of Russia exporting to China S-500 anti-missile systems with anti-space weapon capabilities in the event of a deteriorating space situation is not ruled out, nor is the possibility of China-Russia cooperation in anti-space technology. According to U.S. reports, China and Russia have different anti-missile capabilities and technologies, with Russia’s space-based co-orbital “nesting doll” anti-satellite technology and China’s mid-range anti-missile technology and anti-satellite technology each having its own advantages. Cooperation between China and Russia on anti-satellite technology could be a nightmare for U.S. satellites. Until there is a treaty banning the weaponization of space, China-Russia space cooperation, especially military cooperation in space, is a strong cornerstone for preventing the space from being weaponized and turned into a battlefield. The highly developed Sino-Russian military relationship is a key factor in promoting global strategic stability, and it has played an important role in maintaining global and regional stability.52


V. Conclusion


Space cooperation between China and Russia has been the result of the development of relations between the two countries, from good neighborliness to comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and is a concrete manifestation of their increasingly close political relationship. It is nonetheless undeniable that the expansion and deepening of the space relationship between China and Russia is also the result of geopolitical changes.


The United States ended hard-won U.S.-China space cooperation in the 1990s on the pretext that U.S. companies had helped China find the cause of its launch vehicle failures, and thus enhanced Chinese ballistic missile technology. In recent years, as the United States has positioned the U.S.-China relationship as one of full-scale competition and confrontation, the United States has imposed a multifaceted technology blockade on China in an attempt to curb its technological progress. In the space field, the Wolf Amendment enacted during the Obama administration prohibited the United States from cooperating with China on space, almost completely closing the door to U.S.-China space cooperation. In June 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Innovation and Competition Act, which prohibits the United States from carrying out any space exchanges with China, and extends sanctions to nearly all state-owned space enterprises. Even though China has cooperated with European countries, Sino-European space cooperation has significant limitations because of the United States factor. Meanwhile, with its strong space power (including private space companies), the United States seeks space hegemony or seeks to forestall the decline of its space hegemony, promotes the weaponization of space, and seeks to make space a battlefield, posing enormous challenges and threats to space security and China’s national security. The United States is also relying on its strength and trying to use the Artemis Agreement to replace the Moon Agreement, seeking celestial body sovereignty in disguise. With the imbalance in Chinese, United States, and Russian space power, neither China nor Russia alone can stop the United States from pursuing its stated strategies and policies.

美方借口美国公司帮助中国找到运载火箭发射失败的原因从而提升了中国弹道导弹技术,在 20 世纪 90 年代终止了来之不易的中美太空合作。近年来,随着美国将中美关系定位成全面竞争与对抗,美国对中国进行多方面的技术封锁,企图遏制中国技术进步。在太空领域,奥巴马政府时期颁布的“沃尔夫条款”禁止美国与中国进行太空合作,几乎彻底关闭了中美太空合作的大门。2021 年 6 月,美国参议院通过的《创新与竞争法》,禁止美国与中国进行任何太空交流,并且把制裁范围几乎扩大到整个国有航天企业。尽管中国与欧洲国家进行了合作,但是因为美国因素的存在,中欧太空合作具有很大局限性。同时,美国凭借其包括私人太空公司在内的强大太空实力,谋求太空霸权或延缓太空霸权衰落,推进太空武器化并力图使太空战场化,给太空安全及中国国家安全造成巨大的挑战与威胁。美国还凭借其实力,企图用《阿忒尔弥斯协定》取代《月球协定》,变相谋求天体主权。在中美俄太空实力失衡的情况下,中俄两国中的任何一方都无法单独阻止美国推行其既定战略与政策。

China-Russia space cooperation is the necessary result of addressing the foregoing geopolitical challenges, and has important significance for maintaining the multipolarity of space and the overall stability of the China-United States-Russia triangular space relationship, preserving the status and attributes of the “global commons” in space, and formulating fair and just rules of space governance in the future, thereby ensuring the stability of the space order. China-Russia space cooperation, especially the establishment of a joint lunar research station, is a concrete attempt to implement the concept of global governance of “negotiation, joint construction, and sharing” and to build a community of human destiny in space, and it is also a way for China to provide Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom for changing space governance.


As to whether the above goals can be achieved, or there will be one pole in space led by the United States, and another pole with China and Russia jointly, depends to some extent on Russia. From one aspect, it depends on how Russia views China-Russia space cooperation, that is, how much it can gain from it, politically, militarily, and economically. This leads directly to another aspect, namely, whether Russia is serious about implementing Sino-Russian space cooperation agreements and the contracts it has signed. For various reasons, Russia has not been able to strictly implement its own space program, thus affecting space cooperation with foreign countries. There is, for example, the slow progress in the development of Russia’s Yenisei super-heavy launch vehicle, for which Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, was severely criticized by President Putin. 53 It was announced recently that Russia plans to use the Angara rocket to replace the Yenisei. 54 If the Angara rocket is used to go to the moon, it will affect the sharing of rocket data between the two countries substantially. Even if the Yenisei is kept, the slow progress of its construction will limit cooperation between the two countries in rocket technology. All these factors will affect construction of the international lunar research station, which in turn will affect the international space landscape and the establishment of fair and just rules of space governance. In conclusion, the key to whether deep cooperation between China and Russia in space will be able to take off lies in the attitude and practical actions of the Russian side.

至于能否实现上述目标,或者说构成以美国为首的太空一极、以中俄联合的另一极,在一定程度上取决于俄罗斯。一方面在于俄罗斯如何看待中俄太空合作,即其自身能从中获取多大的相对收益,包括政治的、军事的、经济的;这一点直接导致另外一个方面,即俄罗斯是否认真执行中俄太空合作协定与所签署的合同。因为各种原因,俄罗斯没能严格落实本国的太空计划,因此也影响到与外国的太空合作,如,俄罗斯在研制超重型运载火箭“叶尼塞”工程上进展缓慢,俄罗斯联邦航天局局长罗戈津(Dmitry Rogozin)为此受到了普京总统的严厉批评。最近又传出俄罗斯计划使用“安加拉”火箭替代“叶尼塞”的消息。如果使用“安加拉”火箭登月,将实质影响两国共享火箭数据。而即便保留“叶尼塞”,如果建设进展缓慢,也会制约两国火箭技术合作。这些因素都会波及国际月球科研站的建设,进而影响国际太空格局,以及公平公正的太空治理规则的确立。总之,中俄太空深度合作能否起飞,关键在于俄罗斯方面的态度与实际行动。

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何奇松 (He Qisong), 叶妮姗 (Ye Nishan). "Analysis of Space Cooperation Between China and Russia [中国与俄罗斯太空合作分析]". CSIS Interpret: China, original work published in Russian Studies [俄罗斯研究], August 2, 2021

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