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General Statement by Ambassador Tang, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the 47th Session of Legal Sub-Committee, COPUOS


2008/04/02

Mr. Chairman,

 

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, to congratulate you on your election as chairman for the current session of the Legal Sub-Committee.  I believe that under your skilful chairmanship, this session is going to be a success.  I would also like to thank Dr. Othman, Director of OOSA and her staff for their efforts in preparing this session.

 

Mr. Chairman,

 

The outer space is the common wealth of mankind and should b used entirely for peaceful purposes.  Maintaining and strengthening rule of law in outer space constitutes an important guarantee for the development of harmonious outer space activities. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty and other four international instruments on outer space have jointly formed the current international legal regime governing outer space, which has played a proactive and effective role in regulating national space activities, securing the rights and interests of all the countries related to outer space, maintaining order in outer space as well as promoting international cooperation in outer space. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty has established the principles that the outer space must be used for peaceful purposes and that the outer space must be used in the common interest of the mankind as a whole. These principles have formed the legal basis for the legal regime governing outer space and peaceful use of outer space. Therefore, all the countries should follow these principles unswervingly and in good faith.

 

At the same time, it must be noted that as situation evolves, the flaws and shortcomings in the current legal regime governing outer space have gradually come to light. For example, in terms of maintaining peace in outer space, the regime has failed in effectively preventing of the weaponization of and arms race in outer space. In terms of promoting development, the system has failed in regulating the commercial outer space activities by private operators. In terms of protecting outer space environment and securing the sustainable use of outer space resources, the regime has failed in putting outer space contamination and the wasting of resources under effective control. All these failings clearly suggest that the existing outer space laws need to be supplemented and consolidated.

 

The Chinese Government supports and actively advocates for a conclusion of relevant legal instruments through negotiations in order to prevent the weaponization of and arms race in outer space.  We agree to the formulation of a legal regime that regulates space commercial and private activities and we appreciate UNIDROIT's efforts to finalize the draft protocol on matters specific to space assets to the "Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment";  we also support the legislative efforts in protecting the outer space environment and maintaining the sustainable use of resources in outer space; we therefore appreciate the "Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines" endorsed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution;  in addition, it will be quite positive if the laws governing outer space will be supplemented and consolidated from the perspectives of law codification and development and formulate a comprehensive law governing outer space.  We would like to work with all countries to promote this exercise.  I'm convinced that this committee will continue to play its active role in achieving the rule of law in outer space.

 

China's space industry has up to now 52 years of glorious history.  We have basically developed the five main capabilities, namely, entry into space, satellite development and application, space infrastructure and logistical support, manned space flight and space exploration.  Chang'e-1 was successfully launched in October 2007, which marks another important achievement in China's space industry.

 

While seeking self-development, we abide by the principle of having international cooperation, commit ourselves to develop a cooperative win-win relationship in outer space with all countries.  In recent years, China signed in succession with many countries, space agencies and international organizations approximately 20 space cooperation agreements and conducted cooperative projects; China worked with the relevant countries in the Asia-Pacific Region to jointly set up the "Asia Pacific Space Cooperation Organization" (APSCO) and its formal launching has entered the count-down period; the UN SPIDER Beijing Office will be launched as soon as the Host Country Agreement is concluded.  The China and Brazil Earth Resource Satellite Project is going on smoothly and the satellites have provided tens of thousands frames of remote-sensing images, which have found wide applications in every field of national economy such as crop production, environmental protection and monitoring, city planning and territorial resource exploration.  In last May, China successfully launched a telecommunication satellite and executed an on-orbit delivery to Nigeria.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 

 

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