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. China urges action against threat of militarization of outer space
BEIJING (AFP) Sep 01, 2005
Emerging space power China Thursday warned urgent attention needs to be given to the prospect of weapons being deployed in space, saying the risks were growing every day.

In a position paper on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, it said it supports international legal documents ensuring the peaceful use of space.

"Outer space is the common wealth of mankind but, at present, the danger of weaponization of outer space is growing with each passing day," it said.

"Such a prospect is not in the interest of any country."

In May, a New York Times report said the US Air Force was seeking a national security directive from President George W. Bush that could lead to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons.

The White House subsequently denied it was considering putting weapons in space.

"The international community should take effective preventative measures, negotiate and conclude relevant international legal instruments to prohibit deployment of weapons in outer space," the position paper said.

The Times report said the US aim was not to place weapons permanently in orbit -- which is banned under the 30-year-old Antiballistic Missile Treaty the US withdrew from in 2002 -- but to use space as a platform for weapons systems currently being developed.

China carried out its maiden manned space flight in October 2003 and plans to launch its next manned mission this year. It set up its space program in 1992 and has said it will never be used to put weapons in orbit.

Chinese President Hu Jintao leaves for the United States and a meeting with Bush next week.

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