|Statement by H. E. Mr. Wang Qun, Ambassador for disarmament affair of China , at the Thematic Debate on Outer Space at the First Committee of the UNGA|
The mankind has marched into the 6th decade of outer space exploitation, and the manned space flight has made a history of 50 years. Recently, China has successfully launched the Tiangong-1 (Heavenly Palace 1) as a target spacecraft for rendezvous and docking experiment, which opens a new era of China’s manned space flight, and also reflects that China is committed its self to the honorable objective of promoting the peaceful exploration and utilization of the outer space, maintaining peace and bringing benefit to mankind.
The outer space is the common wealth of mankind as the global public space. The permanent peace of outer space is correlated to all nations’ security, development and prosperity. Meanwhile, with the growing reliance of mankind on outer space, the risk of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space are on rise, and the uncertainties concerning outer space security are accumulating as well. Safeguarding the peaceful use of outer space and preventing the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, are common interest and obligations of all countries.
What is gratifying is that in responding to the growing challenge for security in outer space mentioned above, the international community also witnessed increased common grounds on opposing to the weaponization of outer space and advertising the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has, for consecutive years, adopted ‘Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space’ (PAROS) resolution by overwhelming majority of votes, calling for negotiations on an international legally-binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space at the Conference on Disarmament (CD).
The Chinese Government always firmly opposes to the weaponization of outer space and an arms race in outer space, and dedicates itself to efforts for maintaining peace and security in outer space. China has been the co-sponsor of the UNGA resolution ‘Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space’, and actively promotes the implementation of the resolution at the CD.
China and Russia has jointly submitted to the CD the draft of ‘Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects’ (PPWT) in 2008. In 2009, focusing on the comments and proposals made by many other CD members, China and Russia submitted to the CD the working paper, further clarifying and explaining the PPWT accordingly. We hope that CD could start substantive discussion based on the PPWT as early as possible, and we would like to stress that we hope all sides could make joint efforts in enriching and improving the PPWT, discussing the effective way to deal with a series of issues related to PPWT including verification.
China attaches importance to outer space Transparency and Confidence Building Measures (TCBM), and is open towards relevant initiatives and discussions. We believe that appropriate and viable TCBMs are of positive significance, as they enhance mutual trust, reduce accidental errors, regulate outer space activities and maintain outer space security, and are the useful supplements to the international legally-binding instrument on the prevention of the weaponization of outer space and an arms race in outer space.
At the same time, TCBM and PAROS are two parallel processes. China is of the view that, on one hand, a set of TCBM arrangements can eventually be reached on the basis of consensus through broadly-participated, open and equal international deliberations. On the other hand, as voluntary measures in nature, the TCBM are not legally-binding, and they can’t substitute for the negotiation of a new legally-binding instrument on outer space.
In this aspect, the Russia Federation and the European Union have been making unremitting efforts and useful attempts over many years. The resolution on TCBM adopted by UNGA last year, requests the UNSG to establish a UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on TCBM, which will provide a highly authoritative platform for the relevant international discussion. China is looking forward to exchanging views with relevant parties in that framework in a comprehensive and in-depth manner.
The Chinese takes note of the efforts made by the European Union on a draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. Meanwhile, China believes that the EU’s Code of Conduct, which focuses on the peaceful use of outer space, would by no means dilute the process and the topic on prevention of an arms race in outer space at the CD. We hope that EU could deal with the concerns of all the relevant parties in an appropriate way, so as to conclude a Code of Conduct accepted to all.
Peace, development and cooperation are the irreversible trends of the times. An early conclusion of a new international legally-binding instrument aiming at preventing weaponization of outer space is of fundamental importance to permanent peace and tranquility in outer space. China is willing to join hands with all countries to contribute to maintaining peace and security in outer space.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.