February 17th, 2008 15:20 EST
U.S. plan to shoot down ailing satellite threatens China
China says it is concerned that U.S. plans to shoot down a malfunctioning spy satellite could undermine the security situation in space.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao said today that Beijing is closely watching the situation and may take what he called "preventive measures." He did not elaborate.
The Chinese spokesman urged Washington to fulfill its international obligations and avoid damaging security in space and in other countries.
Russia has also expressed concern about the U.S. military's plan to destroy the ailing satellite with a missile. The Russian defense ministry said Saturday that the U.S. military could use the operation as a cover to test a new space weapon.
U.S. officials say the plan is meant to prevent the satellite from leaking toxic fuel as it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere next month.
Washington says the planned shootdown of the satellite is not at all like the Chinese military's destruction of an aging weather satellite in January 2007.
China shot down the satellite with a ground-based missile, prompting the U.S. to express concern about the possible militarization of space.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.