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US Knew About Chinese Anti-Satellite Test But Chose Not To Act

The administration felt constrained in its dealings with China because of its view that it had little leverage to stop an important Chinese military program, and because it did not want to let Beijing know how much the United States knew about its space launching activities, The Times said.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) April 22, 2007
US intelligence knew about preparations for January's test in China of an anti-satellite weapon but the US government chose not to intervene because of insufficient leverage with Beijing, The New York Times reported on its website Sunday.

China's shootdown of an old communication satellite was the first successful demonstration of an anti-satellite missile by any country in more than 20 years.

Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the United States had already detected two previous tests of the Chinese anti-satellite system -- on July 7, 2005, and February 6, 2006. Both of them were unsuccessful.

But in December 2006 and early January of this year, US intelligence agencies picked up signs that preparations for a third Chinese anti-satellite test appeared to be under way, the report said.

The mobile missile launcher for the SC-19 was repeatedly detected on the Songlin pad, said The Times, referring to officials familiar with classified reports.

In early January, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which collects and analyzes reconnaissance information, also warned that an SC-19 test was possible that month, the paper said.

The presumed target for the test was an old Chinese weather satellite known as the Feng-Yun-1C.

The United States Air Force was carefully tracking the satellite on the day of the test, checking its location six times that day instead of the normal two, The Times reported, citing Geoff Forden, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In high-level discussions, senior officials in the administration of President George W. Bush debated how to respond and even began to draft a protest, but ultimately decided to say nothing to Beijing until after the test, the report said.

The administration felt constrained in its dealings with China because of its view that it had little leverage to stop an important Chinese military program, and because it did not want to let Beijing know how much the United States knew about its space launching activities, The Times said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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China Meeting On Space Waste Delayed
Beijing (UPI) April 20, 2007
China, apparently fearing criticism of its recent satellite destruction, has put off hosting next week's global meeting on hazardous space waste.







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