China concerned about U.S. plans to shoot down damaged spy satellite

.BEIJING (AP) – China said Sunday it was concerned about U.S. military plans to shoot down a damaged spy satellite that is hurtling toward Earth with 1,000 pounds of toxic fuel.

The U.S. military has said it hopes to smash the satellite as soon as next week – just before it enters Earth’s atmosphere – with a single missile fired from a Navy cruiser in the northern Pacific Ocean.

The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao as saying the Chinese government was monitoring the situation and has urged the United States to avoid causing damages to security in outer space and in other countries.

“Relevant departments of China are closely watching the situation and working out preventive measures,” Liu said. Xinhua did not elaborate.

Russia also has voiced worries about the U.S. plan to shoot down the damaged satellite, saying it may be a veiled test of America’s missile defense system.

The United States has insisted the plan to shoot down the satellite is not a test of a program to kill other nations’ orbiting communications and intelligence capabilities.

The Bush administration and U.S. military officials have said the bus-sized satellite is carrying a fuel called hydrazine that could injure or even kill people who are near it when it hits the ground.