No plan to shoot down Chinese rocket -Pentagon chief

No plan to shoot down Chinese rocket -Pentagon chief

"We can not completely rule out the possibility of rocket pieces falling onto the Korean Peninsula", Lt. Col. Choi Seong-hwan of the Korea Space Operations Center said.

Wang said China "pays great attention to the re-entry of the upper stage of the rocket into the atmosphere".

China says the upper stage of its Long March 5B rocket that launched the core module of its space station will mostly burn up on re-entry, posing little threat to people and property on the ground.

U.S. experts have expressed concern over the rocket that will make an uncontrolled re-entry.

In an attempt to develop new materials and promote the study of bioscience, China is scheduled to continue sending modules to complete the construction of the nation's first space station, named Tiangong, by the end of 2022.

The Global Times, a tabloid affiliated with the ruling Chinese Communist Party, quoted an analyst as saying "only a very small portion" may fall to the ground, which will "potentially land on areas away from human activities or in the ocean".

Where it will hit "cannot be pinpointed until within hours of its reentry", the Pentagon said in a statement Tuesday.

South Korea and the United States on Friday discussed ways to jointly respond to remnants of a Chinese rocket expected to crash into Earth this weekend, the Air Force said.

On Thursday, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the country's military now has no plan "to shoot the rocket down".

The nonprofit Aerospace Corporation expects the debris to hit the Pacific near the equator after passing over eastern USA cities.

The rocket, called Long March 5B, was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Centre on 29 April to carry Tianhe - the first module of China's future space station - into orbit.

The space station will be complete by 2022, with China also planning to build a moon base in cooperation with Russian Federation.

Harvard-based astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell said potentially unsafe debris will likely escape incineration after streaking through the atmosphere at hypersonic speed but in all likelihood would fall into the sea.

China's first space station, Tiangong-1, crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 2016 after Beijing confirmed it had lost control.

In March, debris from a Falcon 9 rocket launched by US aeronautics company SpaceX fell to Earth in Washington and on the OR coast.

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