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Statement by the Chinese Delegation at the Thematic Debate on Outer Space at the First Committee of the 62nd Session of the UNGA
(New York, 22 October 2007)

2007/10/22

 

Mr. Chairman,

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the Outer Space Treaty. Over half a century, more and more countries have participated in the exploration and utilization of outer space, and even more countries benefit from outer space technology. Our life has never been in such a close connection with outer space as it does today. The peace and security in outer space matters the well-being of people all around the world. It is mankind's common obligation to maintain outer space security.

Nevertheless, since the moment humanbeing traveled into outer space, the danger of militarization and weaponization in outer space has all along lingered above us. The international community has made unremitting efforts to ensure the peaceful use of outer space. The Outer Space Treaty concluded 40 years ago and other subsequent relevant legal instruments constitute the international legal framework to regulate the conducts and maintain security in outer space. They have played an important role in promoting the peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space.

Mr. Chairman,

While appreciating the positive role played by the Outer Space Treaty and other legal instruments, we shall also realize that due to the limitation of historical conditions and the development of space technology, the existing legal system regarding outer space is of obvious defects, and cannot prevent weaponization of and arms race in outer space. It needs to be especially pointed out that missile defence programme is being preceded ambitiously, and more dangerously, relevant systems are likely to be deployed into outer space. This programme's potential negative impacts on international strategic stability and mutual trust among countries cause great concerns.

To face this reality, international legal system regarding outer space should be improved and completed constantly, so as to keep abreast with times. Obviously, negotiating and concluding a new legal instrument on outer space, thus covering the flaws in existing legal mechanism, is the only fundamental way to prevent weaponization of and arms race in outer space, and maintain security therein. The international community has arrived at common understanding in this regard. During last more than 20 years and by an overwhelming majority, the United Nations General Assembly has consecutively adopted relevant resolutions, which require the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to establish an ad hoc committee, and negotiate new multilateral agreement or agreements on outer space. In recent two years, the CD held fruitful discussions on the issue of outer space. Form political, legal, technical and economic perspectives, parties further exchanged their views on definition, sco