China Renews Call for Talks on Space Weapons Treaty

China renewed a call for talks on a space weapons treaty Tuesday, a day after its defense minister reportedly said the country had no plans for a repeat of last month's test of an anti-satellite weapon.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said China and Russia presented a draft outline to the U.N.'s Conference on Disarmament in 2002, urging negotiations for a pact to prevent weapons in space.

Jiang said China still supports talks on a "international legal document preventing the militarization of outer space and an arms race in outer space."

"China has always advocated the peaceful use of space, and advocates strengthening international exchanges and cooperation on the peaceful use of outer space," Jiang said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

Last month's test, in which a Chinese missile shattered a defunct Chinese weather satellite, drew strong criticism from the United States and other countries, who questioned China's commitment to peaceful development in space.

On Monday, former Japanese Defense Chief Fukushiro Nukaga said Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan told him the test was not targeted at any nation and there were no plans for a follow up.

Despite such assurances, several countries and scientific experts have already expressed concern that the debris created by the test could damage or interfere with other satellites in orbit.

The Russian and Chinese proposal in Geneva made little headway, and U.S. President George W. Bush signed an order in October tacitly asserting the U.S. right to space weapons and opposing the development of treaties or other measures restricting them.