China quashes claims of its star-wars dreams

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Beijing, Nov. 6 (ANI): China has clarified that the People's Liberation Army's recent interest in space programs is not aimed at weaponizing outer space, but to engage in peaceful ventures.

The China Daily quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu, as saying: "I want to point out China has all along upheld the peaceful use of outer space. We oppose the weaponization of outer space or a space arms race. China has never and will not participate in an outer space arms race in any form. The position of China on this point remains unchanged."

"We must build a space force that conforms with the needs of our nation's development, the demands of space age development and good for regional stability and world peace," he added.

Earlier, Air Force Commander Xu Qiliang of the People's Liberation Army had triggered speculation about a star-wars-like situation in near future by saying that "competition between military forces is shifting to space".

United States General Kevin Chilton, who heads the US Strategic Command, said that he wanted more information on China's position when asked about Xu's remarks.

Beijing's space program "is an area that we'll want to explore and understand exactly what China's intentions are here, and why they might want to go in that direction and what grounds might accommodate a different direction," he said.

However, Zhai Dequan, deputy director of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said the key problem with the speculation is that there "is still distrust. No matter how sincere China is, they would consider it a conspiracy," he said.

China's first lunar probe, the Chang'e-1 satellite, finished its mission in October 2008.

Last year, three Chinese astronauts completed the country's first spacewalk during a 68-hour voyage. (ANI)

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