At the end of June, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, in the course of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, agreed to establish “regular bilateral government consultations on civil space cooperation.” Neither the purpose of these consultations nor the topics they will cover was immediately clear.
How might cooperation with China benefit the United States? Some hold that cooperation in space helps promote cooperation on Earth. Writing in SpaceNews in 2013, Michael Krepon argued “The more they cooperate in space, the less likely it is that their competition on Earth will result in military confrontation. The reverse is also true.” That sentiment is widespread and flows from the nobility of exploration. If only it were so.
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