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The salute was carried live to 1 billion people but went unnoticed by most of the world.
Three astronauts aboard China’s new rival to the International Space Station gave military salutes to President Xi Jinping during a videoconference broadcast Wednesday on state television. “We in Beijing await your triumphant return,” Xi toldthe three officers of the People’s Liberation Army standing in front of Communist Party flags as they orbited 242 miles above Earth.
Last week’s launch from a base in the Gobi Desert was followed obsessively inside China but largely overlooked in the United States — overshadowed by President Biden’s summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Although both adversaries threaten U.S. interests, Americans need to worry more about a rising and militarizing China than a revanchist Russia. The new space race helps illustrate why.