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To Be More Precise: BEIDOU, GPS, and the Emerging Competition in Satellite-Based PNT

  • Published
  • China Aerospace Studies Institute

The United States and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) are in an emerging competition over satellite-based positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT). In 2020, the PRC completed BeiDou 3, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS). The PRC now intends to “gain a competitive edge” in satellite-based PNT by making BeiDou more accurate, integrating it into global infrastructures, and expanding its use into new domains.

This paper examines the importance of BeiDou to PRC national power. It argues that the PRC is using BeiDou as an instrument of national power to enhance its global power projection capabilities, international influence, and global commercial competitiveness. In sum, BeiDou assists the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in achieving its goals of increasing the country’s national power and ushering in a multipolar world and extends the competition between the United States and the PRC to the field of satellite PNT. If PRC plans are successful, BeiDou will enable China’s military to conduct precision strikes against adversaries and could lead to the loss of international influence for the United States and expand market opportunities for PRC commerce.

Click here for the full report.