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This won’t help US-China space cooperation

Aviation Week reports in its latest issue that earlier this month the Treasury Department moved to freeze the assets under US jurisdiction of four Chinese companies, including China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), the principal Chinese commercial space company, and its US subsidiary, G.W. Aerospace, Inc. The companies allegedly provided support to Iran for the development of medium-range ballistic missiles. The orders “prohibit all transactions between the designees and any U.S. person and freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction,” according to a Treasury Department press release.

The Aviation Week article notes that this could have an adverse effect on potential US-Chinese space cooperation, to be discussed during NASA administrator Mike Griffin’s trip to China later this year:

The U.S. deals with China across a wide range of commercial and scientific topics. If the U.S. views this as a Chinese-company problem, the cooperation will not be directly impacted. But if the Bush administration views it as more of a government problem, then it could cool the administration’s recent cooperative tone.

It should be noted that CGWIC, which primarily sells Long March launches to foreign customers, is owned by the Chinese government.

3 comments to This won’t help US-China space cooperation

  • changehappens

    US co-operation with either Russia or China will be limited for the foreseeable future. Both countries use selling military and space hardware to countries hostile to the US. I believe a few years ago, Loral and Hughes were sanctioned for assisting the Chinese as they improved the reliability and accuracy of the LongMarch booster after a devestating explosion in China. So its not just the US sanctioning foreign companies. I find it very interesting that after the latest Shuttle explosion, NASA was finally able to buy Soyuz capsules but have no plans to include Russia in the VSE program. Even though Russia has proven itself during the long Shuttle standown, the US government sees no benefit in Russian participation of a far more risky and expensive enterprise as the VSE is. If the Russians can’t be included, no way the Chinese will. It will probably stay this way until a moment similar to the California Gold Rush occurs. Then there will be a rush to clarify new laws on property rights, mineral rights, orbital rights that will blow away government hesitations.

  • changehappens: believe a few years ago, Loral and Hughes were sanctioned for assisting the Chinese as they improved the reliability and accuracy of the LongMarch booster

    This is true (although it is my understanding the accusations were never proven and, certainly, there was a lot of truly nasty domestic politics involved). However, that resulted (via that politics) in the current obstructions to exporting most space technology to anyone (even our friends), and thus handing an ever larger percentage of our commercial space industry Europe. This is one of the classic examples of shooting one’s self in the foot.

    – Donald

  • changehappens

    Yeah, I agree, we did swing too far in throttling exports, just like we had been too easy going prior to the Loral/Hughes imbroglios. Now with NASA revitalizing the US rocket industry with its VSE stuff, I don’t see any administration easing the rules and letting either Russia or China get a cut.