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The incident highlights what observers say is China’s rapid emergence as a pariah state among many of its neighbors because of Beijing’s expansive, unyielding, vague and unilateral territorial claims.

LAUNCHING A MANNED SPACECRAFT

China is set to launch a manned spacecraft Tuesday, following on last year’s successful manned launch that connected with China’s space station.

The Shenzhou-10 (Sacred Vessel-10) will launch with three crew members, known as Taikonauts. It will dock at China’s space station, the Tiangong-1 (Celestial Palace-1), which was launched Sept. 29, 2011.

The vessel will be launched with a rocket booster designed to carry China’s orbital spacecraft. The two-stage rocket has a carrying capacity of 19,000 pounds.

Since its debut in 1999, the rocket has had a record of 10 consecutive successful launches, nine that lofted Shenzhou spacecraft and one for the Tiangong-1.

On June 16, 2012, a modified version of the rocket carried into orbit the Shenzhou-9, China’s first manned spacecraft.

It practiced rendezvous maneuvers with the Tiangong-1.

The Shenzhou-10 will be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the western province of Gansu.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at mmilesyu@gmail.com and @Yu_Miles.