A pretty astonishing story. When Beijing Normal University set up a research base in the capital of Greenland, it forgot to mention to its local partners that the facility would double as a satellite ground station with possible military uses. Just an oversight, I’m sure:
China has ‘officially’ launched a project to set up a satellite ground station in Nuuk, although Greenland’s public and elected representatives were kept in the dark about it for months, in an attempt to avoid concerns about its likely dual-use capabilities. Last May, a ‘launching ceremony’ was held in Greenland, where speakers included the well-known polar scientist in charge of the project and a military pioneer of the Beidou system, China’s alternative to GPS. The event was attended by a public of a hundred ‘élite’ businesspeople, including, in all likelihood, a senior Navy officer, as part of a group holiday; only two Greenlandic representatives were present. While reports were immediately available in Chinese media, the project’s launch went unnoticed in Greenland until I first ‘revealed‘ it last October.
It would be a shame if something happened to that facility. What if chronic power outages or some mysterious, unfixable technical glitch put it out of commission, perhaps indefinitely? That would really be terrible. Just saying.
On a related note (report from last December):
China’s first overseas land satellite receiving ground station was put into trial operation on Thursday.
The China Remote Sensing Satellite North Polar Ground Station is above the Arctic circle, half an hour’s drive from Kiruna, a major mining town in Sweden.