When the term "taikonaut", to mean an astronaut from the People's Republic of China, began to appear in US media — a year or two after the 2001 Wang Wei incident, if I remember correctly – I thought it was an unmistakeable sign that China was intent on there being a new Cold War with the United States.
Why? Because in the First Cold War, space was one of the great battlegrounds between the Soviets and the US. One very simple token of that rivalry was the competing terms "cosmonaut" and "astronaut", which of course mean same thing but signal different linguistic identities and so political affiliations. The introduction of a Chinese-based term for the same idea told me that China was dissatisfied with the outcome of the last round of this battle, in which she played a distant second fiddle to the USSR. The USSR lost the First Cold War, and so did China, by association. Well, China wants a rematch.
Although "Cold War thinking" (lěngzhàn sīxiǎng 冷戰思想) has become a common Chinese smear against Americans and their allies, things have now developed to the point that any reasonably neutral observer can see where they are going. It will be interesting to watch how Americans awaken to this issue and how they react to it. I, for one, will try to keep my eyes open.
(On the question of dating, I see an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times, dated 20031010, that uses the term "taikonaut": Joan Johnson-Freese, "Celestial ambitions: Now China is sending a man into space. Why?" http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/10/opinion/10iht-edfreese_ed3_.html, accessed 20120615. What an interesting date for a column on Chinese nationalism!)