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China silent on satellite killer

AFP
Friday, January 19, 2007 

China's defence ministry refused to confirm Friday it conducted a test in space of a satellite-killing weapon, following US claims that the controversial event occurred last week.
"We are not aware of that test. Usually the media writes stories on hearsay evidence, we don't have time to verify such stories," a spokesman with the ministry's foreign affairs department told AFP, refusing to comment further.

A senior White House official, requesting anonymity, confirmed on Thursday a report in Aviation Week magazine that US spy agencies had concluded that China conducted a successful test of a satellite-killing weapon on January 11.

The test reportedly knocked out an ageing Chinese weather satellite with a "kinetic kill vehicle" launched on board a ballistic missile.

The impact occurred at more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) above Earth.

The White House said on Thursday that the United States, Australia and Canada had expressed concern to China over the test.

"The United States 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," said national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

"We and other countries have expressed our concern to the Chinese," Johndroe said.

An Australia's foreign ministry spokeswoman said Friday that China's ambassador in Canberra had been summoned to explain the test.

China's foreign ministry did immediately reply on Friday to requests for comment on the issue.

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