China Completes Its BeiDou Navigational System

A rocket carrying the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 navigation system lifts off from the launchpad in Xichang in southwest China’s Sichuan province on June 23.
Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China Completes Its BeiDou Navigational System

China is distancing itself from reliance on the U.S. and presenting itself as an alternative to the superpower retreating from the world stage.

China accomplished another milestone in its space program on Tuesday, with the launch of its final satellite completing its third generation BeiDou navigation system.

The global navigation system, equivalent to the United States’ Global Positioning System (gps), was completed six months ahead of schedule. Development of the system began in 1994, with the first satellites launched in the final few months of 2000. The system continued to develop into its second and then third generation systems, providing global service from Dec. 27, 2018.

BeiDou-3 is comprised of 35 satellites, more than any other navigation system in the world, including gps.

As the South China Morning Post reported:

It puts China in a competitive position against the world’s three other satellite navigation networks—the U.S.-led gps, Europe-led Galileo and Russia’s glonass. Beijing is now in a position to expand its international engagement and offer an alternative to other countries which currently rely on U.S. technology.

China has been working hard in recent years, particularly throughout Asia, to present itself as an alternative ally to the U.S. It has done this in large part through its Belt and Road Initiative. And now, through BeiDou, it is presenting another resource to the world as a replacement to the once-dominate gps.

But BeiDou is not just a navigational system. It has the ability to be rapidly turned into a weapon in the hands of China’s Communist Party. And the U.S. sees this as the threat that it is.

Less than a week prior to the completion of BeiDou-3, the Pentagon released a report identifying Russia and China as its greatest threats, having “weaponized space as a means to reduce U.S. and allied military effectiveness and challenge our freedom of operation in space.”

The report lays out changes that the U.S. Department of Defense will be making to its space program over the next decade to maintain a military edge in space. These changes include the buildup of its Space Force, an arm of the U.S. Armed Forces, and plans to launch 150 satellites by 2024 to track hypersonic weapons in orbit. Analysts say that these capabilities are essential to controlling U.S. assets in space and to monitor Chinese activity.

The report’s release just prior to the completion of BeiDou-3 is not a coincidence. It emphasizes that the navigational system is a military threat to the U.S. and the world.

In some ways, BeiDou is more advanced than gps. China’s government-controlled news station cgtn reported that the system can send sms-like text messages via the satellites, a capability gps does not have. It also reports that BeiDou is “partially leading the world in signal performance and network bandwidth” and is already operating in more than 700 million Android smartphones. The official BeiDou website notes that the system is being used in more than half the countries in the world.

Having so much Chinese technology and devices reliant on Chinese satellites is dangerous given the nation’s history of espionage. It could give the Chinese government an increased ability to infiltrate and attack computer systems.

Creating a rival to gps feeds China’s goal of becoming the world leader in space. “The main advantage of having your own system is security of access, in the sense that you are not relying on another country to provide it,” said Alexandra Stickings of the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies. “The U.S. could deny users access over certain areas, for example, in times of conflict.”

BeiDou enables China’s military to make precision strikes without relying on America’s gps. Stickings also pointed out that BeiDou could be used to “deny or degrade the signal received by other users of the system.”

BeiDou satellites, in the event of a conflict, will enable the Chinese military to identify, track and strike U.S. ships, increasing their tracking ability by 100 to 1,000 times. Navigation satellites make it possible for rockets to strike accurately enough to directly hit and potentially destroy deeply buried missile bunkers, and they are vital to precision-guided missiles, smart bombs, navigation and operation of ships, other vehicles and troops.

China is already planning further improvements to its BeiDou technology. Its website states:

By 2035, China will build a more advanced, ubiquitous, integrated and more intelligent comprehensive positioning, navigation and timing (pnt) system, which will offer more powerful abilities for spatial and temporal information services, and will make the Chinese contributions which lead human beings to go farther and higher.

China’s technological advancements are not slowing down, and the militarization of that technology is a threat the U.S. and the rest of the world should remain vigilant to.

In numerous passages throughout the Bible, God prophesied that China would emerge as a military superpower, and that superpower is now thoroughly established in space.

In our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy, we write: “Keep your eye on China. Within a few short years, this nation—the ascendant, proud China that has emerged today—will dazzle the world. Watching its vault into great-power status truly is a look at the future.”

China, second only to Russia, is prophesied to be one of the leading powers in the prophesied “kings of the east” alliance (Revelation 16:12). Many of the powers that will comprise this Asian alliance are identified in Ezekiel 38: “Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (verse 2). Regarding this passage, Russia and China in Prophecy states, “In his book Compendium of World History, Dr. Herman Hoeh correctly identified Meshech and Tubal as fathers of those who comprise greater Russia today. Magog fathered the people of China and Mongolia.”

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’: “I believe Ezekiel 38:2 actually revolves around the prince leading the 200 million-man army, which includes China and other nations. But the two key nations are Russia and China.”

Mr. Flurry is referring to the 200 million-man army described in Revelation 9:16. This Asian conglomerate, “the kings of the east” led by Russia and China, fields this massive army. And in this modern age, that military superpower has access to some of the most advanced military technology in the world.

Mr. Flurry continues: “Putin has pushed America out of the Middle East. Russia is now the only global power really impacting that region. And now China is pushing America out of Asia. These developments ought to intensely alarm the American superpower.” China’s highly competitive BeiDou system is another reminder to America that its role as the world’s sole superpower is threatened.

For more information on China’s rapid rise to power, please read our Trends article “Why the Trumpet Watches the Rise of China as a Superpower.”