The outer space is the common heritage of mankind. A lasting peace in outer space is closely related to the security, development and prosperity of all nations in the world. Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) is one of the cor issues in the CD and involves an important aspect of the maintenance of international peace and security. China always advocates peaceful use of outer space. It opposes weaponization of and an arms race in outer space and has been actively promoting negotiations to conclude an international legal instrument in this regard. I would like to take this opportunity to share some of our views on how to effectively maintain the security and prevent an arms race in outer space.
Firstly, arms race in outer space is posing an immediate security challenge to international community, and the fundamental approach to maintain the security in outer space is to negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument in this regard.
Along with the development of science and technology and increased utilization of space by mankind, the risk of an arms race in outer space is also on the rise. On one hand, we are witnessing a growing trend towards the weaponization of outer space. Some platforms for space-based weapons have reached status of deployment and operation. On the other hand, the military doctrines are also taking shape which call for space control and dominance and space warfare. These developments will have profound impact on the outer space security and international strategic balance.
As an immediate priority, we should adopt effective preventive measures by negotiating and concluding an international legal instrument on PAROS to close the loopholes of the existing outer space legal regime with the view to preventing the weaponization of outer space from its root cause through a legal framework.
Secondly, basic conditions are already in place to negotiate and conclude new international legal instrument on outer space.
Since 1982, the UNGA has adopted resolutions on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space by overwhelming majority for 30 consecutive years, calling for the negotiation of multilateral agreements on PAROS. The majority of countries are in favor of immediate start of such negotiations.
From 1985 to 1994, the CD had established Ad Hoc Committees on PAROS annually to hold in-depth discussions on such issues as definitions, rules and relationship with existing treaties. Since then, the CD has continued relevant researches and discussions and many valuable working papers have been submitted. These efforts and achievements have laid a firm foundation for negotiating and concluding a new legal instrument on outer space.
Thirdly, the draft Treaty on Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space and of the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) introduced by China and Russian in 2008 is the most mature proposal on PAROS that has so far been presented to the CD.
The draft PPWT clearly bans the placement of any weapons in outer space in any manner and prohibits the threat or use of force against outer space objects. This will remove the risk of weaponization of outer space fundamentally. Meanwhile, the PPWT will not affect the peaceful use of outer space by States Parties as well as their legitimate rights of self-defense.
In August 2009, in response to relevant comments and questions, China and Russia jointly submitted a working paper entitled Principal Questions and Comments on the Draft PPWT (CD/1872), which provided further explanations and clarifications on such issues as definition, scope and verification.
It needs to be pointed out that, the development of the PPWT has always been accompanied by an open and transparent process. It took many years for the PPWT to take its present shape and it is based on opinions and suggestions of many CD members. In this sense, the PPWT not only represents views of China and Russia, but also reflects the collective wisdom and efforts of many CD members. China looks forward to the early start of negotiations in the CD on the basis of the draft PPWT.
Fourthly, transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs) and the PAROS process do not exclude each other and are mutually complementary.
The UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on TCBMs in outer space will start its work next month and the multilateral meeting of experts on EU Code of Conduct is currently convened in Vienna. China believes that appropriate and practical TCBMs can play a positive role in enhancing mutual-trust, reducing misjudgments and regulating space activities. Indeed, they can be complementary to the negotiation of a legal instrument on PAROS.
China supports efforts to promote TCBMs in outer space activities. The UN GGE will provide an authoritative platform to discuss relevant issues. However, when discussing TCBMs which are voluntary in nature, we should not selectively lose sight of the risks of weaponization of and arms race in outer space. Initiatives to promote TCBMs should not substitute PAROS process, or undermine the work carried out by the CD on the basis of the draft PPWT. We sincerely hope the two processes will feed on each other, and will both make contribution to eliminating weaponization risks and to enhancing outer space security.
Thank you, Mr. President.