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GOP Reps Urge US To Confront Challenge Of China Space Test January 31, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Congress, Military News, Politics, US News, White House.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday that China’s recent test of a satellite-killing weapon marked the beginning of a new era to militarize space, and they urged the Bush administration to improve U.S. abilities to confront the challenge.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, a long-shot candidate for president in 2008, and Rep. Terry Everett, the top Republican on the House of Representatives’ Strategic Forces Subcommittee, said in a letter to President George W. Bush that “it is important that substantial efforts are made now to avoid technological surprise.”

The Jan. 11 destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite with a warhead, Hunter told reporters, “was a testing of the ability to blind American capability, with respect to our security apparatus.”

It “heralded a new era of military competition in space, whether we like it or not. We’re going to have to meet that competition. We’re going to have to be solidly superior in space to protect American space assets” that are crucial to the U.S. economy and military, he said.

Hunter, a conservative and a frequent critic of China, also called for curbs against European nations that are selling satellite and space technology to China, “because otherwise you’re going to see space technologies flowing from the commercial sectors of our European allies.”

Fierce debate over Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq has consumed lawmakers recently. But China’s test has drawn strong criticism and sparked fears of an arms race in space.

This week, Republican Sen. Jon Kyl criticized Bush, a fellow Republican, for avoiding public statements about the test.

Kyl said the “muted response” was due to a “complicated relationship” with China that includes tension over U.S.-Chinese trade interests, and the need to secure Chinese help in the United Nations in nuclear standoffs against Iran and North Korea.

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