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International relations

China rocket debris spurs calls for limiting space junk

US-China rivalry and acrimony complicates dealing with safety issues

TOKYO -- Few think that their backyards will ever be ground zero for junk falling from space, even after parts from one of the world's largest rockets dropped near the Maldives this month, and from another that peppered the Ivory Coast last year.

Still, experts warn you may not always be so lucky. Debris from China's Long March 5B rocket plummeted into the Indian Ocean on May 9, but it could have been anywhere in an area between 41.5 degrees north and south of the equator, given the orbit of the rocket, which was launched on April 29 to help develop China's first permanent space station.

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