China completes satellite navigation system that could rival US GPS

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China's BeiDou satellite navigation system could boost Beijing's security and geopolitical influence.

China is celebrating the completion of its BeiDou satellite navigation system that could compete with the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and significantly enhance China's security and geopolitical influence.

President Xi Jinping, head of the ruling Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army, officially commissioned the system on Friday during a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

This followed a statement that the 55th and final geostationary satellite in the constellation launched on June 23 was functioning after completing all tests.

The satellite is part of the third iteration of the BeiDou system known as BDS-3, which began providing navigation services in 2018 to countries participating in China's sprawling Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. with others.

In addition to being a navigation aid with an extremely high degree of precision, the system offers communication by short messages of up to 1 Chinese characters and the possibility of transmitting images.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the system is already in use in more than half of the world's countries and underlined China's commitment to the peaceful use of space and the desire to work with other countries.

"China is willing to continue to strengthen space exchanges and cooperation and share the achievements of space development with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, openness, inclusion, l 'equality and mutual benefit,' Wang said at a daily briefing.

While China says it is seeking cooperation with other satellite navigation systems, BeiDou could eventually compete with GPS, Russia's GLONASS and the European Union's Galileo networks. It's similar to how Chinese mobile phone makers and other makers of technically sophisticated hardware have taken on their foreign rivals.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said BeiDou is compatible with the other three systems but gave no details on how they would work together.

For China, one of the main advantages of the system, the construction of which began 30 years ago, is the ability to replace GPS to guide its missiles, which is especially important now in the context of growing tensions with Washington. .

It is also possible to strengthen China's economic and political influence on countries adopting the system, ensuring that they align behind China's position on Taiwan, Tibet, the South China Sea and other sensitive issues or risk losing their access.

Key to China's success has been the development by the Chinese Academy of Space Technology of Rubidium Atomic Clocks that provide time and frequency standards for BDS satellites, Xinhua said.

He said the system was proof that Washington's attempts to impose a "high-tech lockdown" and crackdown on Chinese companies such as Huawei had failed.

“Despite these measures, China's innovative capacity has only grown stronger. Just as President Xi recently said at a symposium on China's economic work: "No country or individual can stop the historic pace of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Xinhua told me. .

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