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China Confirms It Shot Down Satellite

(RFE/RL) January 23, 2007 -- China today confirmed that it used a land-based missile system to shoot down one of its own satellites.

The missile test makes China only the third country, after the United States and the former Soviet Union, to shoot down an object in space.

Governments last week expressed concern about reports of the missile test, but China had until now refused to confirm or deny it.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao today said the government had already informed the United States of the test. Liu said the missile strike was not directed at any country, and said that China advocates the peaceful development of space.

"China has informed certain countries, including the United States, about the antisatellite-missile test we have recently conducted in outer space," Liu told a news briefing in Beijing today. "What needs to be stressed is that China has always advocated the peaceful use of space, opposes the weaponization of space and an arms races in space. China has never participated and will never participate in any arms race in outer space."

Britain, the United States, Australia, and Japan were among the countries that warned that the strike could lead to the militarization of space.

(Reuters, AFP)