WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A race with China to develop anti-satellite technology became so heated the United States protested with talk of a military response, WikiLeaks documents show.
The documents show the conflict began under President George W. Bush when China in 2007 shot down one of its own satellites, and has continued into the Obama administration, the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday. In early 2008, the U.S. State Department sent a formal protest, warning "destroying satellites endangers people."
"Any purposeful interference with U.S. space systems will be interpreted by the United States as an infringement of its rights and considered an escalation in a crisis or conflict," the protest continued. "The United States reserves the right, consistent with the U.N. Charter and international law, to defend and protect its space systems with a wide range of options, from diplomatic to military."
A month after the Chinese strike on a weather satellite, the United States used a Navy missile to destroy one of its own satellites. U.S. officials said the fuel tank contained hazardous substances that could have posed a danger if it had fallen to earth.
The documents show Secretary of State Hillary Clinton protested Chinese tests last year, the Telegraph said.