China's UN envoy opposes weaponization of space

2024-04-25 Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

China's UN ambassador on Wednesday urged ongoing efforts to prevent outer space weaponization, to start prompt negotiations for a binding arms control treaty, and to ensure space remains peaceful for all member states and humanity.

"Outer space is not the private property of a few countries, but the common asset of all humankind. It is not an arena for countries to fight each other, but a new frontier for mutually beneficial cooperation," said Fu Cong, China's permanent representative to the United Nations.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday rejected a draft resolution introduced by the U.S. and Japan that calls for active contributions to the "objective of the peaceful use of outer space and of the prevention of an arms race in outer space".

The resolution gained 13 votes in favor, with Russia opposing and China abstaining. Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the resolution didn't go far enough in banning all types of weapons in space.

"The draft resolution that was just voted on is incomplete and unbalanced and does not reflect to the fullest extent the common interests and the shared call of the 193 member states on the issue of outer space security. Therefore, China had to abstain from the vote on the draft resolution," said Fu.

"China agrees with the content of the current council draft relating to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. However, these elements represent only one aspect of the governance of outer space security, and the draft should be supplemented with other substantive elements," he said.

The council also rejected an amendment put forward by China and Russia that suggested an additional paragraph, which would have had the council call on all countries, especially those with major space capabilities, "to take urgent measures to prevent for all time the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force in outer space", and "to seek through negotiations the early elaboration of appropriate reliably verifiable legally binding multilateral agreements".

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, passed in the UN General Assembly that year, bans the placement of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in outer space; prohibits military activities on celestial bodies; and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space.

"I would like to point out that the amendment is not a new text, but elements from a General Assembly resolution supported by over two-thirds of member states," said Fu.

China also "firmly opposed a groundless accusation against China" over the meeting, Fu said.

"I would like to emphasize that if the U.S. and Japan were truly committed to advancing the council's constructive deliberations on outer space security, then they should focus squarely on the risks of outer space being weaponized and the potential arms race in outer space, and they should unequivocally stand for the prohibition of the placement of all types of weapons, including nuclear weapons, in outer space," he said.

"The U.S. should stop its development and deployment of offensive weapons in outer space, change its negative attitude towards the negotiation of a legally binding instrument on arms control in outer space and get engaged actively in the discussions at the Conference on Disarmament and First Committee of the UN General Assembly," Fu added.

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