Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Chinese Satellite Killer

The Chinese confirm that they have tested the weapon. I don't suppose it is an especially egregious act, since the US tested one previously, and no doubt the Russians did as well. It is aggravating though that they are testing in an environment that is especially fragile with respect to the debris that they caused.

China said on Tuesday that it held an anti-satellite test, confirming earlier reports from Washington, and stressed that it opposed any arms race in space and did not pose a threat.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference that the government had informed the United States of the test.

"What needs to be stressed is that China has always advocated the peaceful use of space, opposes the weaponisation of space and an arms races in space," Liu said. "China has never participated and will never participate in any arms race in outer space.

Not participating? Funny, looks like they are. Why else would they have built a satellite killer?
China had repeatedly refused to publicly say whether it knocked one its own aging satellites out of the skies with a missile on January 11 in what Washington officials criticised as a provocative escalation of military competition.

On Monday, a State Department spokesman said in Washington that Chinese officials had acknowledged the test when they met U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill in Beijing over the weekend.

Asked about China's delay in reporting the test, Liu said: "China has nothing to hide. After various parties expressed concern we explained this test in outer space to them."

Outer space? Looks like near Earth orbit to me. Not sure why everyone is all upset. China has as much right to participate in space weapons as anyone. And why does the State Department think China has a responsibility to report to them anything at all? The delay statement seems to indicate that they were obligated to explain, which is completely false.

It may be an action that is risky to other people's assets, but there is very little doubt they have the right to develop weapons for their own defense. The US has stated it will defend it's own assets and an assumption that others aren't allow similar protections is rather foolish.

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