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China calls for international treaty barring weapons from outer space

[JURIST] China is prepared to work with other countries to create an agreement that would prevent an arms race in space [BBC report], Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday. The statement comes amid international outcry [BBC report] after confirmations that China had successfully launched a missile that destroyed a weather satellite earlier this month. Many countries expressed concern that the destruction of the satellite would create large amounts of debris in space, interfering with or threatening other satellites. Other countries said that China's actions could induce future arms movements into space [CNS backgrounder]. AP has more.

In October, US President George W. Bush authorized the first changes to the US space policy in nearly 10 years by asserting authority to deny access to space [JURIST report] to any adversary hostile to US interests. In 2002, China and Russia jointly proposed an explicit ban on weapons in space [text, PDF; China Daily report], but the US opposed the measure, arguing that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty [text] already provided enough protection against the practice.

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