Newsdeck

Trump says ‘Space Force’ to dominate foes, cites China

By AFP 14 August 2018
Caption
A picture made available on 20 June 2016 shows a man dressed as a stormtrooper, a fictional soldier from the American epic space opera franchise Star Wars, walking in the rain as he leaves the Supanova Pop Culture Expo (SupaNova) in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 19 June 2016. Sydney's annual science fiction and fantasy film fan convention runs from 17 to 19 June 2016. EPA/DAN HIMBRECHTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

US President Donald Trump signed an almost $750 billion defense spending bill Monday, while vowing a new "Space Force" would give America dominance over rivals in China and elsewhere.

“Our competitors have begun weaponizing space,” Trump warned troops at Fort Drum in New York state, as he signed a National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress earlier this month.

“It’s not enough to have American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space,” Trump said, as he warned of the threat from China and elsewhere.

“Look at what they’re doing, they have given me run-downs,” he said in reference to security briefings. “I’ve seen things that you don’t want to see what they’re doing and how advanced they are.”

“They want to jam transmissions which threaten our battlefield operations and so many other things”

“We’ll be catching them very shortly,” he said. “We will be so far ahead of them in a very short time, your head will spin.”

He specifically mentioned a “new” Chinese military division that oversees space operations.

The spending bill contains a number of important provisions, including a prohibition on delivering F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey, a NATO ally unless they ditch Russian technology.

Trump has sparred with the country’s leaders over the detention of a Christian pastor.

It also extends a restriction on US-Russian military cooperation, something the White House vociferously opposed. DM

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