Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to attend this Conference again. This Conference has become an important and useful platform for government officials, academics and experts to exchange views on issues related to space security. I hope all participants will make full use of this forum to have in-depth discussions on traditional and emerging issues regarding space security.
It has been more than six decades since mankind first embarked on the exploration of outer space. The bonus of the development of space technology has brought about economic, social benefits to all of us. At the same time, the challenges have also been mounting. It is our common interest as well as our common responsibility to safeguard space security, deepen pragmatic cooperation and seek mutual benefit.
First, maintaining peace in outer space is fundamental in ensuring benefits of space exploration and exploitation enjoyed by all countries in the world.
In the mid 20th century, people came to recognize the military potential of outer space. The doctrine of "whoever controls the space dominates the earth" emerged. With the rapid development of space technology in recent years, the risks of weaponization of outer space have been increasing.
For any country, to maximize the military and security value of outer space, or even seek to place weapons there, would yield no benefit to the security of its own or the world. Space assets of all countries will be threatened. Peaceful uses of outer space will be hampered. Mutual trust among countries will be undermined. And global strategic balance and stability will be jeopardized.
To avoid weaponization of outer space, the international community must take preventive measures. The UN General Assembly has for more than 30 years adopted the resolution on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space by overwhelming majority, calling for the negotiation of a multilateral agreement or agreements on PAROS. Indeed, it is the wish of the vast majority of the international community.
In 2008, China and Russia jointly submitted to the CD the draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT). With a view to keeping up with the latest situation regarding space security, absorbing some pertinent suggestions, while looking into ways to address the concerns expressed by some countries, China and Russia are working closely to prepare an updated draft PPWT. Undoubtedly this would be an open process. We are willing to further accommodate any constructive suggestions and improve the draft continuously, through negotiations, formal or informal consultations, discussions. It is our hope that the CD will start substantive negotiations based on this draft at an early date.
Secondly, to create a stable, sustainable outer space is a common responsibility of all countries.
Last year, the UN Group of Governmental Experts on TCBMs in Outer Space Activities adopted a comprehensive and balanced report by consensus. The report recommends many practical and useful TCBMs in outer space, such as information exchange on space policies and activities, risk reduction notification, visits to space facilities. We encourage all countries to implement, on voluntary basis, the recommendations included in that report.
We are pleased to see relevant parties are now working together for the long-term sustainability of outer space under the framework of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). Space debris has been accumulated over the past six decades’ from space exploration and utilization. Adequate response to overcome this challenge requires collective efforts from all countries. Pointing fingers at each other is not conducive to resolving the problems, nor is it helpful to promote international cooperation.
China has participated, in a constructive manner, the discussions regarding a possible International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities (ICOC) initiated by the EU. We are of the view that the ICOC process needs a clearly defined internationally-recognized mandate, with a universal and inclusive participation. The process should not prejudge its possible outcome. Nor should any deadline be set for the process.
Thirdly, pragmatic and mutually beneficial international cooperation in peaceful uses of outer space is a solid foundation for common development.
Outer space is common heritage of all mankind, and the benefits of space development should be enjoyed by all. However, the capacities of different countries are varied. Developing countries face barriers which prevent them from enjoying benefits of progress in space technology. Major space-faring nations bear special responsibility to make more contributions, including provision of relevant public goods.
At the same time, the capacity of any country to explore and use outer space on its own is quite limited. More extensive and substantive international exchanges and cooperation should be encouraged. Relevant countries should give up their practice of unilateral restrictions on space technology transfers and interfering in space cooperation among other countries.
China is firmly committed to peaceful exploration and uses of outer space. Last year, Shenzhou 10 spacecraft successfully conducted rendezvous and docking with Tiangong 1 space lab. Chang'e 3 Lunar Probe landed on the moon. And China’s Beidou navigation satellite system has been further improved. All these activities serve the need of China's economic and social development, and also contribute to the common prosperity and development of the world.
China looks forward to strengthening space capability-building and conducting space activities through cooperation and exchanges with other countries. China has signed 80 bilateral space cooperation agreements with 30 countries, and provided satellites launch service for more than a dozen countries. China is actively promoting commercial application of Beidou navigation satellite system across the Asia-Pacific region. We are also promoting regional space cooperation in the framework of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO).
We are ready to work closely with all parties, with a view to contributing to maintaining peace of outer space, and bringing win-win cooperation and common development in outer space.