China has threatened to block Elon Musk's Starlink with a rival fleet of 13,000 satellites amid claims they pose a potential military threat and could spy on the Communist country.
A new academic paper published in the military-sponsored Journal of the Chinese Society of Command and Control suggested that lasers and microwaves should be used to shoot down Starlink satellites.
Starlink's Earth-orbiting satellites are currently in the process of being deployed to cover the entire planet.
The company says the network is intended to provide global internet connectivity, especially in hard-to-reach areas.
Yet the Chinese paper claimed that its true purpose is to provide military reconnaissance, "seamless intelligence" and even a "missile early warning and kinetic energy interception network".
The report said: "Although the US Space Exploration Corporation stated that the purpose of building the Starlink constellation is to provide space-based Internet services covering the world, the Starlink constellation has received strong support from the US military during the construction and deployment process."
The paper also hints that a Chinese-made rival to Starlink, known as "GW", could be used in a land grab to keep Starlink out. GW will see 12,992 satellites launched into orbit as a direct commercial and military rival to Starlink's estimated 3,500 spacecraft, the paper says.
Neutralising Starlink's threat to China could involve using "high-power microwaves" or laser weapons to cause "soft damage" to the communications satellites, according to Professor Xu Can of the Chinese army's Space Engineering University in Beijing.
He said: "Lasers, high-power microwaves, etc. can be used to damage the reconnaissance payloads that may be carried by the Starlink satellites, making them lose their reconnaissance capabilities."
Suggestions that the Chinese military should cause "soft damage" to block Starlink comes as the company appears increasingly unwilling to continue its support to Ukraine, whose military is heavily dependent upon Starlink.
Earlier this month SpaceX, the company behind Starlink, accused Ukraine of "weaponising" the network, with company president Gwynne Shotwell saying: "Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement."
Similarly, Mr Musk himself has said that SpaceX is preventing Ukraine from using Starlink to carry out long-range drone strikes.
Although Starlink terminals were rushed to Ukraine in the early days after the Russian invasion last year, SpaceX has grown increasingly wary of their use.
Mr Musk publicly complained about the cost of providing Ukraine's military and civil society free access to the terminals, leading to the US government providing funding.
The service has been used to provide Wi-Fi access to civilians in Ukrainian cities, following a deliberate Russian policy of destroying mobile phone masts and data centres to cut off Ukraine's internet access from the outside world.
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