|Statement by H.E. Ambassador FU Cong of China at the joint ad hoc meeting of the First and the Fourth Committee on Space Security of the 70th Session of the UNGA|
First of all, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, I would like to congratulate you on the assumption of the chairmanship of the first joint ad hoc meeting of the First and the Fourth committee on space security. I am confident that your able leadership will steer this meeting to a success.
This joint session was mandated by last year's UNGA resolution, on the basis of proposals made by the 2013 GGE study report on space TCBMs. It is a clear demonstration that with the advancement of space exploration and utilization, space security is being affected by multiple factors, and that the international community is gaining deeper understanding of outer space security and long-term sustainability. This joint session provides us with an opportunity to contemplate and work for more consensus on ways to address challenges to space security and sustainability.
As pointed out by the GGE report, there are currently more than 1000 satellites orbiting in space and more than 60 countries and entities actively engaged in space activities, and, as such, the outer space activities carried out by any one country could have an impact on the space assets and space activities of other countries. To maintain safety and security of space, it is necessary to implement appropriate and feasible TCBMs, taking into consideration national conditions. Bearing this in mind, China has all along attached high importance to the UN's work relating to outer space. As a co-sponsor of the traditional UNGA Resolution on space TCBMs and an active participant in the work of UNGGE, China has put forward many constructive proposals, making important contributions to the conclusion of the GGE report.
Meanwhile, we are glad to note that, as the main UN agency in the field of peaceful use of outer space, the UNCOPUOS and its subcommittees have done a lot of work over the years, including promoting implementation of the existing outer space legal instruments and principles, the conclusion of the 2007 Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and establishment of a working group on long-term sustainability of outer space. These efforts have played an important role in regulating space activities, safeguarding all countries' right to peaceful uses of outer space, and protecting space environment. As a responsible space-faring nation, China has been constructively engaged in all the related work and earnestly fulfilling its international obligations, such as launching registration and space debris mitigation.
In-depth discussions on space security and sustainability can only be conducted on the basis of full and comprehensive understanding of space security threats. On the one hand, as a result of fast development of, and easier access to, space technology, challenges posed by space environmental degradation, space congestion and space debris have been on the rise. On the other hand, as the strategic importance of the outer space becomes more pronounced, the ever more obvious trend of space weaponization is having an increasing impact on space security and international strategic architecture. This is the biggest challenge to space security and sustainability. Therefore, the fundamental guarantee for space security and sustainability is to negotiate a new legally binding instrument on space arms control to further consolidate and reinforce the exiting space legal regime, so as to make sure outer space is solely used for peaceful purposes.
During this joint session, we should, first of all, work for tighter connection and synergy among relevant UN mechanisms and institutions covering different aspects of the space issue. More importantly, we should arrive at a more comprehensive understanding on space security and sustainability. China is of the view that efforts should be made to reach consensus on the following aspects.
Firstly, maintaining the peaceful nature of space is the fundamental guarantee for security and sustainability of outer space.
Unequivocally and consistently opposed to weaponization and arms race in space, China has made unremitting efforts to promote international negotiation on a multilateral space arms control treaty. China and Russia introduced a PPWT draft(CD/1839) to the CD in 2008 and submitted an updated version(CD/1985) in June last year. Attaching high importance to the subsequent comments made by some countries, and after careful study, China and Russia submitted another working paper(CD/2042) in response to those comments in September this year. China calls on all parties to work for broader common ground and conduct discussion in an open and constructive manner, so that the negotiation for a multilateral arms control treaty could start at an early date. This constitutes a fundamental way to ensure the security and long term sustainability of the outer space.
Secondly, as useful complements to legally-binding arms control treaties, TCBMs in outer space are important means for enhancing space security and sustainability.
TCBMs in outer space are conducive to enhancing political confidence. Appropriate and feasible TCBMs can complement efforts aiming at prevention of space weaponization and arms race by enhancing mutual confidence, reducing misperception and misjudgement, and regulating space activities. TCBMs can also serve as the basis for verification of a future space legal instrument. In this connection, the 2013 GGE report made an objective evaluation of space security situation and proposed valuable recommendations on TCBMs for space activities. These recommendations are worthy of all countries' careful consideration and implementation in light of their own national conditions. It needs to be emphasized, however, that countries at different level of space capabilities may have different concerns about TCBMs, and that their abilities to accept a specific TCBM may also vary. Therefore, multilateral discussions in this filed must be conducted in an equal and open manner, so as to ensure that the agreed TCBMs can be implemented smoothly and effectively.
Thirdly, pragmatic promotions of international space cooperation is indispensable for attaining space security and sustainability.
Space is the common heritage for all mankind, and the fruits of space exploration should be shared by all. Space-faring nations should take up the responsibility of providing public goods, and help nations with limited or no space capabilities to enjoy the benefits of space exploration. China has done a lot of work in this regard. China has entered into 97 bilateral space cooperation agreements with 30 countries, provided satellite launching service to more than 10 countries and made great efforts for the international application of the Beidou Navigation Satellite system. China has also played an active role in regional space cooperation under the framework of APSCO, effectively enhancing satellite remote sensing applications by APSCO and its members, and contributing to natural disasters reduction and relief in the Asia-pacific region. China is willing to expand and deepen cooperation and exchanges in peaceful uses of outer space with interested countries, and continue to work with the international society for a more equal and equitable environment for utilization , based on win-win cooperation.
Since the start of space age, security and peaceful uses of outer space have been high on UN's agenda. The First and Fourth committees of UNGA have made tremendous efforts with widely acknowledged achievements. This joint session is a good start for enhanced exchanges and coordination among different UN institutions and mechanisms covering different aspects of space issues. It also provides the international society with opportunity to deepen understanding of space issues, and to explore effective ways to address challenges to space security and sustainability. China stands ready to make further contribution to the attainment of this common goal.