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PRESS RELEASE By the Delegation of China to the Conference on Disarmament (29/05/2002)

On 28TH of May, the Delegations of China and the Russian Federation jointly held a informal consultation meeting at the Chinese Mission in Geneva to brief on a Sino-Russian joint working paper entitled Possible Elements for a Future International Legal Agreement on the Prevention of the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (Draft, the text of which is attached herewith).  China and Russia intended to formally submit it to the Conference on Disarmament by the end of June, and sought support and co-sponsorship to this document at this meeting.  All the delegations to the Conference to Disarmament were invited and 50 of them took part in the consultation.  In addition to the briefing, initial comments and relevant questions were expressed, generally in favor of giving the document active consideration.

Outer space is the common heritage of the mankind.  The exploration and utilization of outer space for peaceful purposes is a universal aspiration and demand of the international community.  For more than half a century, the development of space technology has enormously facilitated the economic, scientific and social progress of all nations.  Meanwhile, it has also stimulated the research and development of outer-space-related weaponry and military technologies.  Various combat theories and concepts related to space warfare have been unveiled.  Outer space is faced with the danger of weaponization and arms race.

Such as scenario, if comes true, will destroy the tranquility of outer space, undermine the international security, and hamper mankind's activities in the peaceful uses of outer space.  This is not in the interests of any country, be it a country with advanced space technology or a developing country.  Therefore, the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space has become a pressing task for the entire international community.

Over the years, a great deal of work has been done by the international community, and a host of outer-space-related international treaties, agreements and norms have been formulated.  However, they are far from sufficient in arresting the worrying slide towards the weaponization of outer space.  Given the current situation, it is our view that immediate action is needed to initiate the negotiation on a legal instrument that can forestall this potent danger that we are all faced with.

As the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating forum, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva established an Ad Hoc Committee on the Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) for ten consecutive years in the past and accumulated rich experience.  Therefore, the CD is an ideal forum for negotiating such a legal instrument.  The UN General Assembly has for years passed resolutions on PAROS, reiterating that "the Conference on Disarmament has the primary role in the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements, as appropriate, on the prevention of an arms race in outer space in all its aspects".  Most CD members have expressed their support of the CD to start substantive work on outer space.

In view of the above, the Delegations of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation will submit to the CD this joint working paper.  The paper lays out the general framework and concrete contents of the future legal instrument on outer space.  The core of the new legal instrument is no deployment of weapons in outer space and no threat or use of force against outer space objects.  China stands for the early re-establishment of an Ad Hoc Committee on PAROS at the CD, so as to start substantive work on the negotiations of such a legal instrument.  This move taken by China and the Russian Federation is solely for the purpose of maintaining peace and stability in outer space through multilateral and constructive cooperation.

The Delegations of China and the Russian Federation hope that all other delegations will carefully study, support and co-sponsor this paper.  We are prepared to join hands with all sides to push for the early conclusion of a new international legal instrument on outer space.

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