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China Urges US to Provide More Information About Satellite Destruction


China, which faced international criticism for destroying one of its satellites in space last year, says it is monitoring whether the U.S. destruction of a dying satellite will have negative effects on safety in outer space or on earth. VOA's Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, gave a measured response when asked about Thursday's apparently successful U.S. operation.

He says China is closely monitoring the effect the U.S. move may have on safety in outer space and the possible harm it could cause to other countries.

The newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, the People's Daily, took a harsher view Thursday of the U.S. action, accusing Washington of hypocrisy in criticizing other countries' space ambitions.

The commentary expressed doubt that the U.S. operation had been mounted "for purely non-military objectives," as Washington says. Russia had also criticized the operation in advance.

When China tested an anti-satellite missile and destroyed one of its own satellites in deep space a year ago, the Bush administration and other governments condemned the act as dangerous.

There were some differences in the two situations. Debris from the destroyed Chinese satellite remains in space, where the U.S. and other governments have said it could potentially damage operating satellites.

The U.S. satellite that was destroyed Thursday was already out of control and falling toward earth. The U.S. Defense Department said the satellite had a tank full of a toxic fuel called hydrazine, which could have harmed humans had it fallen to earth intact.

Washington said its main aim in destroying the satellite was to prevent such harm, and Pentagon officials have denied suggestions they wanted to destroy the satellite to prevent classified information from falling into the hands of rival powers. The Pentagon says its expects the pieces of the satellite will burn up on re-entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Still, the Chinese spokesman urged the U.S. government to, "fulfill its international obligations" concerning the satellite.

He says Beijing wants the United States to provide what he called "relevant information" to other countries so they can take preventative measures.

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