» Friday, January 19, 2007

China Missile Test

Asked what our reaction was to the Chinese Missile test, the PMOS replied that we had discussed this matter with the Chinese authorities earlier this week. We had concerns about the impact in space from the debris, and we had expressed that concern.

Asked who had expressed that concern, and was it a Minister or an official, the PMOS said that it was at official level, from the FCO.

Asked to confirm that we were not worried about the missile, but rather, the debris, the PMOS replied that there were concerns that there was debris in outer space caused by the break-up of the satellite that was hit. We had raised the issue with the Chinese authorities on Wednesday.

Asked if there were concerns that the Chinese were testing missiles that could be used in war, the PMOS replied that people had to be aware of the overall international law. We did not believe that this contravened international law. What we were concerned about was, however, was the lack of consultation and we believed that this development of technology and the manner in which this test was conducted was inconsistent with the spirit of China’s statement to the UN and other bodies on the military use of space.

Asked again about what concerns had been expressed and was it just about the debris, or was it also about the commission of arms or the use of weapons in outer space, the PMOS replied that we had expressed concern about the consultation on this. He added that the UK had never launched a missile at a satellite, and therefore, we were concerned by this.

Asked if there was any concern that any of the debris could fall to Earth, the PMOS replied that he was not a big enough expert on satellites, but that was not the cause of our concern.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news

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