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General Statement by Ambassador Tang, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the 48th Session of Legal Sub-Committee, COPUOS


2009/03/24

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, to express our pleasure at seeing you again presiding over the Legal Subcommittee session as its Chairman. I am convinced that under your guidance and with joint efforts of all delegates, this session will successfully accomplish its tasks.

 

Mr. Chairman,

The past year was dazzlingly eventful for China's space effort with 11 successful launches, which is a new annual launch record. Chinese astronaut walked in space in September 2008, marking a significant step in China's pursuit of manned space flight. Chang'e One moon probe accomplished all its scientific expedition tasks and bumped into the moon on March 1 2009 as planned, thus putting a successful full-stop to phase one of China's moon orbiting and probing project. Now phase 2 of the moon probe project has officially commenced and a new generation of launch vehicles as well as Mars probes and space labs are already under research and development. China will continue to make contributions to the great cause of human exploration of outer space.

In the area of space application, the Chinese government has been very active in employing space science and technology to advance social development. As the strong earthquake struck Wenchuan last year, the government used satellites to provide surveillance data on the aftermath and services such as communication, navigation and positioning in the ensuing rescue and relief operations. Throughout the Beijing Olympic Games, Chinese meteorological satellites rendered sound and reliable meteorological services. As Australia was fighting the forest fire in February this year, China put large quantities of environment and disaster relief related satellite data and products at its disposal, displaying the spirit of solidarity and mutual assistance in hour of need.

 

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese government has always stood for the peaceful use of outer space and abode by all fundamental principles embodied in the 5 UN treaties on outer space in conducting its space activities, and remains a strong advocate of creating harmony in outer space. China believes that it is the 5 space treaties that regulate activities of States in outer space, constitute the legal framework which governs space exploration and utilization, guarantee the right cause to follow in human exploration and use of outer space and constitute the core and bedrock of space law system.

Meanwhile, we should also recognize the fact that the ongoing expansion of human activities in outer space and the profuse uses of the means of space have brought us face to face with new problems and increasing challenges, among which the most outstanding is the issue of space weaponization and space arms race. The existing space treaties, though laying down the basic principles of peaceful uses, lack clear-cut and implementable legal rules to prevent space weaponization and space arms race. In our view, it is befitting the international community to discuss the formulation of new legal instruments, which will establish a legal basis for defusing the real threat to outer space security. China is ready to collaborate actively with other member states in this respect and would like to reiterate the view that the formulation of whatever new rules should not run counter to the objectives and principles of the 5 existing space treaties, nor shift the foundation of the space law system.

 

Mr. Chairman,

Outer space is the province of all mankind. Its exploration and utilization should benefit the humanity as a whole. Following the principles of equality, mutual benefit, peaceful use and common development, China has in the past year carried out practical and effective international cooperation with other countries, particularly developing countries in space activities.

China and a quite number of countries have set up joint space cooperation committees and some cooperation projects are currently underway, such as China-Russia joint Mars probe, China-Brazil resource satellites no.3 and no.4, China-EU Double Star project and the moon probe cooperation project. On December 16, 2008, the Asia and Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) formally came into being in Beijing, which serves as an important platform for cooperation among countries in the Asia and Pacific region. The Chinese government lends strong support to the work of this organization and urges countries in Asia and the Pacific to enhance exchanges and cooperation in utilizing outer space for peaceful purposes. We welcome more countries to join the organization. The Chinese government is also working very closely with UN OOSA in an effort to start the operation of the UN SPIDER office in Beijing as soon as possible.

Mr. Chairman

The Chinese government appreciates highly the work of the Legal Subcommittee of COPUOS and OOSA in strengthening the space legal regime and supports the greater role they are playing in fostering capacity-building in space law in favour of developing countries, implementing space debris mitigation guidelines and formulating legal provisions on space asset financing. China will join other countries in a bid to create a peaceful and stable space environment under the rule of law.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman!

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