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China Officialy Announces Anti Satellite Test Successful

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said "The test is not targeted at any country and will not threaten any country."
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Jan 24, 2007
China startled the world Tuesday when it announced its first successful anti-satellite weapons test in space. The Chinese government said it had successfully destroyed one of its own weather satellites with a ballistic missile. The announcement sparked angry protests from the United States and Japan. However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao responding by claiming that his country had displayed a "responsible attitude" and that it had "upheld the peaceful use of outer space," the Russian newspaper Pravda reported

"China opposes the weaponization of space and any arms race," Liu said. "The test is not targeted at any country and will not threaten any country," he said at a regular briefing.

Japan, Britain and Australia have expressed alarm that the debris of the destroyed Chinese satellite could prove a space navigation hazard to other orbiting satellites and that it could destroy or damage some of them.

However, the real reason for U.S. and allied concern about the test is that it has confirmed that China's still nascent, but generously funded, space program appears to be succeeding in its drive to develop asymmetrical anti-satellite, or ASAT, weapons that could destroy key orbiting U.S. space resources essential for maintaining America's global superiority in military affairs.

A report issued last month by the State Council, China's Cabinet, said the country's air force was giving priority to the development of new fighters as well as air and missile defense weapons.

The Chinese ballistic missile, civilian space and asymmetrical warfare ASAT programs have all been marked by relatively, slow development punctuated by dramatic breakthroughs in capability after extensive preparations. This week's successful ASAT test fits that well-established pattern.

Source: United Press International

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