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China's space development can pose military threat: Japan

by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) March 26, 2008
A Japanese defence ministry think-tank has warned that China's space programme could pose a military threat to other countries.

The review, released on Thursday, also said China is likely to continue its space development programme "as a vital means of achieving military competitiveness against the United States."

"The organisations engaged in China's space development have strong ties to the People's Liberation Army and a considerable number of its satellites are presumably intended for military purposes," the National Institute for Defence Studies said in an annual strategic review of East Asia.

China launched a space probe in October as part of an ambitious exploration programme that has included successes with man-made satellites and manned space flights. The think-tank said the programme had the "effect of raising national prestige."

It added that China's test in January last year to shoot down an object in space -- its own weather satellite -- had fueled military concerns.

"Missiles can destroy not only US artificial satellites but also Japanese intelligence-gathering satellites," the review said.

"The possibility has emerged that the cluster of satellites will come under a great threat when international tension heightens."

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