Forget those artificial islands China is building in the South China Sea. The superpower has their eyes set on a bigger target for colonization – the far side of the moon.
China already has plans in the works to land unmanned missions on the far side of the moon as early as 2018, and they want to use those missions as a stepping stone for a future lunar base.
According to GB Times:
A presentation submitted to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (pdf) states that the robotic mission, currently named Chang’e-4, will launch in 2018 or 2019 and will include a relay satellite.
The paper notes key objectives as performing the ‘first soft landing on the lunar farside in human history’, demonstrating technologies of lunar data relay, landing and roving on complicated terrains of the lunar farside, and lunar night power generation, and a number of scientific goals.
The project will be open to cooperation with other countries and organisations, at the mission level, regarding equipment used, and telemetry, communication and data.
As well as providing a “detailed survey on lunar environment in order to lay a foundation for subsequent lunar exploration mission”, there is, most notably, a proposal for collaboration on “experimental verification for [a] lunar base”.