WikiLeaks: US and China in military standoff over space missiles

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By Tim Ross, Holly Watt and Christopher Hope, The Telegraph, Feb. 2, 2011

The United States threatened to take military action against China during a secret “star wars” arms race within the past few years, according to leaked documents obtained by The Daily Telegraph.

The two nuclear superpowers both shot down their own satellites using sophisticated missiles in separate show of strength, the files suggest.

The American Government was so incensed by Chinese actions in space that it privately warned Beijing it would face military action if it did not desist.

The Chinese carried out further tests as recently as last year, however, leading to further protests from Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, secret documents show.

Beijing justified its actions by accusing the Americans of developing an “offensive” laser weapon system that would have the capability of destroying missiles before they left enemy territory.

The disclosures are contained in the latest documents obtained by the Wikileaks website, which have been released to The Telegraph. They detail the private fears of both superpowers as they sought mastery of the new military frontier.

The “star wars” arms race was began in January 2007 when China shocked the White House by shooting down one of its weather satellite 530 miles above the Earth.

The strike, which resulted in thousands of pieces of debris orbiting the earth, raised fears that the Chinese had the power to cause chaos by destroying US military and civilian satellites.

In February 2008, America launched its own “test” strike to destroy a malfunctioning American satellite, which demonstrated to the Chinese it also had the capability to strike in space.

America stated at the time that the strike was not a military test but a necessary mission to remove a faulty spy satellite.

The leaked documents appear to show its true intentions.

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