At least this time the satellite was one of their own. But the message was clear. China wants all to know that they are prepared for warfare on all levels, including space.
Last year, China and Russia made an attempt to sign a treaty with the United States that would ban all space weapons. I highly doubt that this satellite warfare program was initiated after this time. Usually, these types of projects take years to develop. My guess is that China probably was well on their way to completing the project when they proposed the treaty. Fortunately, the US called their bluff and refused to sign the treaty.
The weather satellite that was hit was a low orbiting satellite. It is still unknown if the same satellite killer weapon could reach our higher orbiting GPS and Military Satellites.
If you wish to see a good discussion on this matter, check out the topic initiated by Bruce at James Randi Educational Foundation Forums. A very good point was brought up by a member of the forum:
‘Chronic pessimist I occasionally read worries about the following scenario: After China develops intercontinental nuclear capability, Chinese foreign minister calls in U.S. ambassador. “We are going to invade Taiwan tomorrow. We are prepared to lose two or three cities over it, if necessary. How many are you prepared to lose?”‘
I think he makes a very interesting point that should be a legitimate concern for us in the United States.