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article imageOp-Ed: China wants ‘Earth-Moon Economic Zone’ by 2050

By Paul Wallis     Nov 7, 2019 in World
Beijing - This could be a serious game-changer. China wants to establish an Earth-Moon economic zone. That means the rights to use the Moon as a source of revenue, in any possible sense. The US may have a hard time keeping up.
This statement comes from well up the Chinese hierarchy. Bao Weimin Director of the Science and Technology Commission of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) unveiled the idea in an official statement. The idea includes Earth-Moon transportation, and obviously a pretty heavy-duty infrastructure. Current projections are that the necessary research for the Zone will be completed by 2030.
Ah…Um… So what, you ask?
This is a major play. The theory is being described as a “first presence” right on another world, which if internationally recognised, could also have legal ramifications for a presence on Mars.
The Earth-Moon Economic Zone, if established, would be the equivalent of a Cold War fait accompli. Getting international recognition of the zone wouldn’t be too hard. It might cause serious friction, but unless someone actually wants to go to war over it, it can happen.
The idea is also likely to mean China will call the shots in a bona fide space economy. Many nations are gearing up for a more space-oriented economy, and huge money is in play even now. An Earth-Moon Economic Zone could be a gigantic economic entity in its own right.
What about the Americans?
America’s baffling lack of focus on one of its historically unrivalled major advantages for the last few decades is now a serious handicap. If China proceeds with the Zone idea, America’s dominant position in space is severely compromised.
The United States has been dawdling along regarding the possibilities of space development and exploration. America has some excellent new space technologies, notably the X37B, but what is it actually doing, strategically? Not much in solid terms, it seems.
The tendency of American governments to focus on what might be politely called ancient geopolitics as well as its own suicidal polarization of itself haven’t helped. The fact is that China can literally walk in, set up shop, and there’s not much the US can do about it. If China decides to shut out the US, what are the options?
The US could find itself with a seriously diminished, in fact restricted, role in space. Imagine having to ask permission from the Chinese to conduct operations on the Moon and Mars. That’s what defeat looks like, guys, and it really could happen.
…And the Russians
The Russians, too, can also benefit, and benefit greatly. Russia has never entirely let go of its sometimes brilliant space history, and it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t be fully supportive of China. That’s an interesting situation, because it means trade would gravitate to Russia and China as major players in what is effectively a new global economic model. Given the irony of the new Russia succeeding where the Soviet Union failed,
Watch that space
It’s too soon to accurately assess the Chinese long term goals. They are in the process of creating a manned lunar program and a very wide ranging space program. They are doing a lot of very solid ground breaking work in the practical issues of landing on the Moon. They do have a new generation of leaders focusing on top level global strategies like the Belt and Road, etc.
Don’t be too surprised to see a Chinese ideograph on the Moon sometime in the next 30 years. The question isn’t if, it’s when.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Chinese space program, EarthMoon Economic Zone, Bao Weimin, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, International recognition of EarthMoon Economic Zo
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