China shoots for the moon

iStockphoto.com China is moving aggressively to become a player in space. In 2003, it became the third country after Russia and the United States to put an astronaut in orbit. Then, the country shocked the world in January by testing a new anti-satellite missile. Arms control experts speculated that China’s intention was to shake the ...

603222_070319_moon_05.jpg
603222_070319_moon_05.jpg

iStockphoto.com

China is moving aggressively to become a player in space. In 2003, it became the third country after Russia and the United States to put an astronaut in orbit. Then, the country shocked the world in January by testing a new anti-satellite missile. Arms control experts speculated that China's intention was to shake the United States into negotiating a ban on weapons in space.

Since then, China has laid out an ambitious space program that reveals its intention to become a peer of the United States. NASA's chief told the U.S. Congress on Thursday that China could put a man on the moon, for what it's worth, in ten years.

iStockphoto.com

China is moving aggressively to become a player in space. In 2003, it became the third country after Russia and the United States to put an astronaut in orbit. Then, the country shocked the world in January by testing a new anti-satellite missile. Arms control experts speculated that China’s intention was to shake the United States into negotiating a ban on weapons in space.

Since then, China has laid out an ambitious space program that reveals its intention to become a peer of the United States. NASA’s chief told the U.S. Congress on Thursday that China could put a man on the moon, for what it’s worth, in ten years.

But it looks like some Chinese have gotten a bit too carried away with this space thing:

BEIJING (AFP) – A Chinese company has been banned from selling plots of land on the moon, state media reported on Saturday.

The company, Lunar Embassy to China, had sold a total of 49 acres (20 hectares) to 34 customers before authorities acted, Xinhua news agency said.

The case had been going on since 2005, when the company sued the state after its license was revoked. The wheels of justice do tend to turn slowly in China, but in this case the ruling may have been timed to send a pointed diplomatic message:

On Friday, the Beijing intermediate court rejected its appeal, saying no individual or country could claim ownership of the moon.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.