Beijing will soon lose the ability to access its weather and earth-monitoring satellites via ground station locations affiliated with the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) in Sweden, Chile and Australia.
“The geopolitical situation has changed since these contracts were signed in the early 2000s. We have to assess where we can do business and it’s harder for us to make that assessment regarding the Chinese market now,” Anni Bolenius, SSC’s head of communications, told Reuters on Monday, noting that the contracts cover weather and earth-monitoring satellites.
The company’s Chinese contracts also provided Beijing with “support” for manned missions, according to Reuters.
However, specific end dates for the current contracts were not provided.
SSC noted that it would not enter deals with new Chinese businesses either.
The Swedish Defense Research Agency, which operates under the state’s Ministry of Defense, told public broadcaster Sveriges Television in January 2019 that the country’s normally civilian cooperation with Beijing may have shifted to Chinese military control.
“As a Swedish, 100 percent government-owned company, if there is at all any doubt that what you are doing with China could enhance military capability, it doesn’t matter if you can…