Tue, Apr 24, 2007 - Page 1 News List

US intelligence warned of PRC missile test: report

STAFF WRITER

US officials received intelligence that China was planning to launch the space missile that destroyed an aging satellite in January, but elected to do and say nothing until after the test, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The report added that senior officials met to discuss how the US should respond to the intelligence reports, but that they decided to wait until any test was completed before communicating with Beijing.

The report said that the officials' decision to wait for the test before responding indicated that the Bush administration felt it "had little leverage to stop" such military activity, and that it did not want Beijing to know the extent of its intelligence-gathering on the matter.

Intelligence agencies reportedly detected preparations for the anti-satellite launch as early as December last year and that a mobile missile launcher had been detected on the Songlin test facility in Sichuan Province, the report said.

The New York Times quoted Geoff Forden, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as saying that the US Air Force increased monitoring of the suspected target satellite on the day of the test.

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