Pence justifies space arms race by inflating China, Russia threat

US Vice President Mike Pence has exaggerated China and Russia’s relative strength to justify a military buildup in space, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said in a press release.

In an interview with The Washington Post earlier this week, Pence said the Trump administration must build up military defenses in space to counter Russian and Chinese security investments.

“An unconstrained arms race in space is a very dangerous path,” UCS physicist Laura Grego, an expert on space and missile technology, said in the release on Thursday. “The best way to ensure the security of US space assets isn’t building space weapons.”

Grego said that although China and Russia appear to be enhancing anti-satellite technologies the United States is “far more developed and capable.”

The United States, Grego added, should strengthen the resilience of US satellite systems and reduce potential threats by negotiating international limits.

The physicist was also concerned by Pence during the same interview sowing doubt over the administration’s commitment to ban nuclear weapons in space.

“The fact that Vice President Pence did not immediately answer ‘absolutely’ when asked if nuclear weapons ‘should always be banned from space’ should set off alarm bells,” Grego said.

On Sunday, Trump said the United States was creating a space force to catch up with China and Russia. In September, Moscow warned Washington against deploying conventional arms in space, saying that the international community had to adopt an agreement on the issue. As of now, international law does not prohibit the deployment of arms in space, except for weapons of mass destruction.