China confirms anti-satellite test, says no threat

By Chris Buckley
Tuesday, January 23, 2007; 2:23 AM

BEIJING (Reuters) - 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.

"... This test was not directed at any country and does not constitute a threat to any country."

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."

No current international treaties or agreements prohibit such anti-satellite tests. But the last one was conducted by the United States in September 1985, and officials and experts say the debris from such tests endangers other satellites.

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