China confirms satellite downed

China confirms reports that it used a ballistic missile to destroy a satellite, amid fears of a new arms race.

China confirms satellite downed
China has confirmed it carried out a test that destroyed a satellite, in a move that caused international alarm.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said a test had been carried out but insisted China was committed to the "peaceful development of outer space".

The US backed reports last week that China had used a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile to destroy a weather satellite.

It was the first known satellite intercept test for more than 20 years.

Several countries, including Japan, Australia and the US, have expressed concern at the test, amid worries it could trigger a space arms race.

Until Tuesday, China had refused to confirm or deny the reports.

International concern

Liu Jianchao told reporters that China had notified "other parties and... the American side" of its test.

"But China stresses that it has consistently advocated the peaceful development of outer space and it opposes the arming of space and military competition in space," he told a news conference.

"China has never, and will never, participate in any form of space arms race."

The magazine American Aviation Week and Space Technology reported that a Chinese Feng Yun 1C polar orbit weather satellite had been destroyed by an anti-satellite system launched from or near China's Xichang Space Centre on 11 January.

The test is thought to have occurred at more than 537 miles (865km) above the Earth.

The report was confirmed by US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe last Thursday.

He said at the time the US "believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of co-operation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area".

Japan and Australia also spoke of their fears of a possible new arms race in space.

The test also triggered alarm in Taiwan, which relies on US satellites to monitor Chinese deployments.

There are already growing international concerns about China's rising military power.

While Beijing keeps its defence spending a secret, analysts say that it has grown rapidly in recent years.

Debris fears

China is now only the third country to shoot something down in space.

Both the US and the Soviet Union halted their tests in the 1980s over concerns that the debris they produced could harm civilian and military satellite operations.

While the US may be unhappy about China's actions, the Washington administration has recently opposed international calls to end such tests.

It revised US space policy last October to state that Washington had the right to freedom of action in space, and the US is known to be researching such "satellite-killing" weapons itself.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16