January 20th, 2007 05:14 EST
U.S. Concern After China Space Missile Test
Washington - The United States and other nations have expressed concern to China about its January 11 test in which a Chinese missile destroyed an aging satellite, scattering debris and possibly threatening the peaceful use of outer space.
We do have concerns about that, " White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino told reporters January 19. The Japanese and the Australians put out strong statements of concern as well. "
News reports also said the British government has expressed formal concern to China about its test, details of which are now becoming public. In the test, China apparently fired a missile that destroyed one of its own aging weather satellites while in earth orbit. Debris from the destroyed satellite and missile still is orbiting and could pose a danger to other satellites and spacecraft.
The U.S. believes China`s development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of cooperation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area, " National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said January 18. We and other countries have expressed our concern regarding this action to the Chinese. "
The United States performed a similar test in 1985, but State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said that test occurred in an era of Cold War tensions when far fewer objects were in Earth`s orbit.
In the 22 years since the U.S. test, countries throughout the world have grown dependent on weather satellites, communications satellites, navigation systems and other devices to be able to conduct modern life as we know it, " Casey told reporters January 19.
And so the consequences of any kind of activity like this are significantly greater now than they were at that time, " Casey said of the 1985 U.S. test.
U.S. policy is that all countries should have a right to peaceful access to space, " Casey said. We certainly are concerned by any effort, by any nation, that would be geared toward developing weapons or other military activities in space. ... We don`t want to see a situation where there is any militarization of space. " (See related article.)
For more information on U.S. policy, see Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and Science and Technology.
(USINFO is produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)By Vince Crawley
USINFO Staff Writer