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China supports peaceful use of space as air force modernises

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 6, 2009
Chinese President Hu Jintao said his nation supported the peaceful use of outer space Friday, days after his air force commander sparked concerns by saying an arms race in space was inevitable.

Hu's comments, which echoed those made the day before by a foreign ministry spokesman, appeared to hammer home the message that Beijing has not abandoned its long-held opposition to the weaponisation of space.

"China will unswervingly uphold a national defence policy that is defensive in nature, and will never seek military expansion and an arms race," Xinhua news agency quoted Hu as telling visiting foreign air force delegations.

"China will ... support the peaceful development of outer space and actively participate in cooperation on global space security," he said at the ceremony marking the 60th birthday of the country's air force.

Hu's remarks appeared to be aimed at cooling down rhetoric by the air force commander, Xu Qiliang, who told the state press that it was imperative for China's air force to develop offensive and defensive operations in outer space.

"As far as the revolution in military affairs is concerned, the competition between military forces is moving towards outer space... this is a historical inevitability and a development that cannot be turned back," Xu told the People's Liberation Army Daily.

"The PLA air force must establish in a timely manner the concepts of space security, space interests and space development.

"We must build an outer space force that conforms with the needs of our nation's development (and) the demands of the development of the space age."

Xu, in a speech to the foreign military delegations on Friday, did not back down from his earlier statements, but instead called for a global concept on space security based on the UN Charter.

"We call for the common establishment of a new concept of space security. Outer space is commonly shared by mankind and should be peaceful," he said.

"If we let space become the new battlefield, then outer space will become a dangerous window hanging over the heads of mankind.

"No single country can disregard this and no country can resist this threat on its own," Xu said, in an apparent veiled reference to the United States.

Xu said China would "unswervingly advance the modernisation of its air force," with a focus on information technology and capabilities aimed at fighting multiple security threats.

"We will not be warlike, nor do we forget or fear war," Xu said.

"But as the capabilities of air forces increase in the future, they will become more destructive in times of war and if not used wisely will have disastrous effects on mankind, civilisation and ourselves."

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China disavows general's comments on space militarisation
Beijing (AFP) Nov 5, 2009
China on Thursday denied it would ever participate in a space arms race, disavowing comments by a top general who said Chinese armed forces should prepare for the militarisation of outer space. "I want to point out China has all along upheld the peaceful use of outer space. We oppose the weaponisation of outer space or a space arms race," foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters. ... read more







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