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NEW DELHI — Whatever may have been China’s motivation, its Jan. 11 anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon test is bound to have lasting global impact like no other military event in recent years.

Three issues stand out on the surprise test: Beijing’s ingrained opacity, which prevented it from owning up to the test for almost two weeks; a lot of unsafe space debris to last decades in low orbit as a result of the destruction of one of China’s aging weather satellites; and the setting of a treacherous precedent (it was the first ASAT kill by any power in more than two decades).

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