|Launch of a Russian Kosmos military satellite from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. Photograph: Russian Defence Ministry/TASS|
Britain will boost its ability to handle threats posed by Russia and China in space as part of a foreign, security and defence policy review, the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said.
“This week we have been reminded of the threat Russia poses to our national security with the provocative test of a weapon-like projectile from a satellite threatening the peaceful use of space,” Wallace wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, adding that China also posed a threat.
“China, too, is developing offensive space weapons and both nations are upgrading their capabilities. Such behaviour only underlines the importance of the review the [UK] government is currently conducting.”
On Thursday Britain said it was concerned about a Russian satellite test which involved the launch of a projectile with the “characteristics of a weapon”.
The Mail on Sunday reported that Johnson was set to overhaul the United Kingdom’s treason laws to counter threats posed by China and Russia, with the step likely to see a new Treason Act, a new Espionage Act and a rewriting of the Official Secrets Act.
Tensions between Britain and Russia have been high in recent weeks, as Britain targeted Russians with new sanctions, accused Russian actors of trying to meddle in the 2019 election and said Moscow had tried to hack into vaccine research.
Separately, Britain announced on Monday it would suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in an escalation of a dispute with China over its introduction of a national security law for the former British colony.
Boris Johnson, the prime minister, has ordered equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by the end of 2027.
China – once courted as the prime source of investment in British infrastructure projects – has accused Britain of pandering to the United States.
Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!