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    Russia says space disarmament plans with China cover all weapons

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    A Sino-Russian proposal for an international treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in space applies to all weapons, not only nuclear ones, Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

    GENEVA, February 12 (RIA Novosti) - A Sino-Russian proposal for an international treaty to ban the deployment of weapons in space applies to all weapons, not only nuclear ones, Russia's foreign minister said on Tuesday.

    The draft treaty was presented to the UN-sponsored annual Geneva Disarmament Conference on February 12.

    "Current international law does not prohibit non-mass destruction weapons from being deployed in space," Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.

    The document, which bans the use of force and threats of force against spacecraft in orbit, is designed to rectify shortcomings in international space laws, encourage the further use of space, ensure the security of space property and reinforce global security and arms control.

    Lavrov said that the draft, distributed last June, has received a positive reaction from most of the partners, who are ready to work on the issue.

    He said Russia hoped to persuade the United States of the need to prevent the deployment of weapons in space.

    "We are aware that the U.S. has doubts on the matter, which we hope to dispel during our work on the text handed out today. We will consider every request and comment," Lavrov said.

    The United States criticized the Russian-Chinese initiative, especially following China's anti-satellite missile tests last year.

    China's January 11, 2007 ballistic missile launch destroyed an aging Chinese weather satellite. Revealed only two weeks later, the test caused international uproar and raised concerns over Beijing's military ambitions.

    The Chinese leadership, however, denied seeking an arms race in space.

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