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Statement by H.E. Ambassador Tang Guoqiang at the 50th Session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space


On 6 June 2007, H.E. Amb. TANG Guoqiang made a statement at the 50th Session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The statement is as following:

Mr. Chairman,

Please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, to begin by congratulating you on your assumption of the chairmanship of COPUOS. We are confident that under your guidance and that of the other members of the bureau and with the concerted efforts of and cooperation among delegates of all member states, the Committee will successfully accomplish the tasks before it in the further promotion of the peaceful uses of outer space and international cooperation. The Chinese delegation will as always continue to support and participate in the work of the Committee under various items and make its contributions to the peaceful uses of outer space.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the launch into orbit of the 1st man-made earth satellite and the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. For the past 50 years, human activities in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space made spectacular progress, making indelible contributions to the creation of better space for living and development, to the promotion of friendly cooperation among and social progress of people around the world and to the safeguarding of mankind's safety, survival and development.

We note with satisfaction that the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and four other outer space treaties jointly constitute the existing international legal regime governing outer space. These treaties have played a positive and effective role in regulating national space activities, safeguarding national rights and interests in outer space, maintaining order in outer space and promoting international space cooperation. Hailed as the Space Magna Carta, the Outer Space Treaty, in particular, has laid the legal foundation for the peaceful exploration and use of outer space, constructed the legal framework for space activities, established the basic principles which countries must abide by when conducting space activities, in particular the principle for the benefit of humanity, the peaceful uses of outer space principle, the principle of free exploration and utilization of outer space on an equal and non-discriminatory basis as well as the international cooperation principle. Improved utilization of outer space and the increasing pursuit of space interests by all countries as a result of scientific and technological advances requires all the more that all space-faring countries resolutely safeguard and constantly strengthen all the legal principles governing the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space. At the same time, we must recognize objectively that there are apparent deficiencies in the existing outer space legal instruments in terms of preventing outer space weaponization and arms race and a lot is missing in regulating the commercialization and privatization of space activities. The Chinese delegation is therefore in favor of making additions and improvements to the existing outer space framework through proper means without jeopardizing the basic principles of the existing space law.

Mr. Chairman,

The exploration and use of outer space should serve peaceful purposes and seek benefits for mankind. While we are encouraged by mankind's achievements, we also need to adopt further measures to prevent outer space weaponization and arms race. The Legal Subcommittee should play its due role in this respect.

Mr. Chairman, with the in-depth development of human space activities, available space resources are becoming in increasingly shorter supply, and pollution of the space environment from nuclear power sources, space debris and ejecta is worsening. Protection of the space environment, rational exploitation and utilization of space resources and the achievement of sustainable development in the peaceful uses of outer space have become a general consensus of the international community. Protecting the space environment is the basic guarantee for the sustainable development of human space activities and a common responsibility of all space-faring nations. China stands ready to join with others in continued efforts in exploring and promoting ways and means of sustainable development in the peaceful uses of outer space.

We note that advancing sustainable socioeconomic development through international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space has received increasing attention from countries around the world. I'd like to take this opportunity to present the latest developments and progress in China in this area since our last session.

Last July, CNSA and the Secretariat of Asia-Pacific Multilateral Cooperation on Space Technology and Applications (AP-MCSTA) jointly organized in Beijing the first post-graduate training course on space technology and applications, which contributed to improving the space technology and applications capabilities of Asian-Pacific countries and to promoting economic and social development in the region. Last March, CNSA and the Russian federal space agency signed an agreement on cooperation in jointly exploring Mars and Phobos, under which the two sides would jointly probe Mars and Phobos in 2009. Last April, China and Pakistan signed a framework agreement on deepening bilateral space science and technology cooperation. Under the agreement, the two countries will carry out cooperation in areas such as communication satellites and cooperate on projects conducted by the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization in satellites, applications and training, among others. Last May 14, China successfully launched a Nigerian communications satellite into space on a LM-3C launch vehicle. It was the first time China provided commercial launch services for a foreign customer in an integrated way with rocket, satellite and launch support. It was also a beneficial practice of international space cooperation among developing countries. On May 24, CNSA signed with ESA the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters, marking CNSA's formal membership in that international cooperative mechanism for disaster reduction.

Mr. Chairman, as host country to the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization, China has been working to promote the convention of that organization. In the past year, preparations for APSCO made new progress. The convention entered into force on October 12, 2006. As host country, China will work closely with signatories to complete the relevant preparatory work as soon as possible and make sure that APSCO is up and running at an early date so as to contribute to improving space cooperation among and the wellbeing of the people of Asian-Pacific countries.

Mr. Chairman, since the launch of the first man-made satellite and the holding of the first session of COPUOS 50 years ago, humanity has achieved a lot in the exploration and utilization of outer space. In the next 50 years, human space activities are sure to make even greater and quicker strides. Where do space activities go from here? That is the question to ponder. Outer space is the province of humanity. All countries, large and small, strong and weak, have the same right to benefit from space activities. The developing countries facing the pressing task of economic and social development are more in need of support and assistance from international space cooperation. Let us work together toward the lofty goal of bringing the benefits of outer space to the whole humanity.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.




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