Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:54 pm Post subject: Canada: 'strong concerns' over China's satellite destruction
Canada expresses 'strong concerns' over China's satellite destruction
Randy Boswell, CanWest News Service
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2007
Canada has formally registered its "strong concerns" with China about its controversial test of a new "satellite-killer" missile technology, which the U.S., Britain, Japan and other countries have also publicly criticized.
"Canada has expressed its strong concerns to the Chinese authorities over the reported anti-satellite test and the possible negative effects," a Foreign Affairs spokesman told CanWest News Service on Friday.
Government officials spent more than a day searching for the precise words to convey Canada's response to China's Jan. 11 firing of a ground-based missile to destroy one of its own obsolete weather satellites.
Font: ****A U.S. National Security Council spokesman said Thursday that Canada and Australia had already joined Washington in condemning the Chinese test.
The missile shot is widely seen in the West as a worrisome development that could spark an arms race in space between China and the United States, which recently asserted its determination to counter any potential threat to American communication satellites.
Experts have also raised concerns that the obliterated satellite will litter space with thousands of pieces of debris that could affect the functioning of other countries' telecommunication devices orbiting the Earth.
The controversy arises while two senior members of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet -- Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Trade Minister David Emerson -- are in China trying to build stronger business ties between Canada and the Asian economic superpower.
"The United States believes China's development and testing of such weapons is inconsistent with the spirit of co-operation that both countries aspire to in the civil space area," U.S. national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters in Washington on Thursday. "We and other countries have expressed our concern to the Chinese," he added, naming Canada and Australia.
On Friday, Britain, Japan and other countries joined in an international chorus of criticism of China's actions.
While stopping short of calling the strike a breach of international law, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "We believe that this development of technology and the manner in which this test was conducted is inconsistent with the spirit of China's statement to the UN and other bodies on the military use of space."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at a news conference, told reporters that "we are asking the Chinese government about the test" and said that "we must use space peacefully."
Japan's foreign minister, Taro Aso, added: "We told China that we doubt if we could call this a peaceful use."
Canada did not elaborate on its concerns about the "negative effects" of China's satellite blast, but governments and experts around the world objected to the possible harm posed by debris from the obliterated satellite, likely to number in the tens of thousands of pieces.
The destruction of the satellite has also signalled China's rise as a military superpower challenging U.S. leadership in space technology and its dominant status in global political affairs.
The destruction of the satellite was first reported on Wednesday by Aviation Week & Space Technology, an online publication that revealed concern among U.S. intelligence officials over China's use on Jan. 11 of a "kinetic kill vehicle launched on-board a ballistic missile" to blow up the eight-year-old beacon.
In December, the U.S. undersecretary for arms control and international security, Robert Joseph, warned in a Washington speech that U.S. satellites and other "space assets" are "vulnerable to a range of threats" - including, he noted, "anti-satellite weapons" that could "permanently and irreversibly destroy satellites."
I am sure that the West has these technologies as well, or is currently in the process of developing them.
Absolutely - In fact, the ability to knock out a satellite is really nothing special. A balistic missile aimed and timed properly can easilly knock a satellite out of orbit or destroy it.
Recently I saw a documentary on the military channel where they were discussing the threat of an attack on satellites.
The United States may be able to do it as well, but the fact remains that the US military is heavilly reliant on satellite technology for its war effort. The thought of having them blown out of the sky could mean the military capacities would be reduced significantly. Think of all the satellite guided munitions in use - the detection and early warning systems. Even Recon. All rely heavilly on satellite systems.
Of course, they wouldn't cripple the military - they have backup methods which are, although less, still effective. What they would do is seriously diminish the advantage the United States military holds over other nations. And China and its massive standing military is not the nation you want to be evening the odds..
China is just spending all the money they are saving through their Kyoto exemption. While the west has their hand tied through costly initiatives like Kyoto, China is largely regulation free. They are building 500 coal-fired generating stations in the next five years. That alone will negate any "progress" Canada makes on the issue.
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Canada: 'strong concerns' over China's satellite destruction