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Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2007, 15:12 GMT
Concern over China's missile test
Control room at Xichang Space Centre in China (file photo)
The missile was reportedly launched near Xichang Space Centre
China is facing international criticism over a weapons test it reportedly carried out in space last week.

Japan has expressed concern, as have the US and Australia.

It is thought that the Chinese used a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile to destroy a weather satellite that had been launched in 1999.

Correspondents say this is the first known satellite intercept test for more than 20 years. China's foreign ministry refused to confirm or deny the report.

While the technology is not new, it does underline the growing capabilities of China's armed forces, according to the BBC's Dan Griffiths in Beijing.

Space arms race?

Late on Thursday, US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe confirmed an article in the magazine American Aviation Week and Space Technology, which reported that the test had taken place.

What we don't want to see is some sort of spread, if you like, of an arms race into outer space
Alexander Downer
Australian Foreign Minister