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National Archives

Public Papers - 1989

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Licensing of Communications Satellites for China


The President today reported to the Congress that it is in the national interest of the United States to authorize licensing for three U.S.-built AUSSAT and AsiaSat satellites for launch on Chinese-built launch vehicles.

The Prime Minister of Australia has urged the President to take this action, emphasizing both the importance for Australia of the AUSSAT program to develop telecommunications and broadcasting services in Australia on a national basis and its consistency with Australia's own measures regarding China. Australia is a good friend and an important ally of the United States, and the timing of the licenses is critical to the success of the program. AsiaSat is to provide similar and badly needed telecommunications services to several friendly countries in Asia.

The sale of the three satellites represents approximately 0 million worth of business for U.S. firms. The satellites are civilian communications satellites, to be controlled after launch by companies based in Australia and Hong Kong. This action is therefore consistent with the President's expressed determination, in imposing sanctions last June, to maintain commercial relations with China.

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