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Statement by ambassador TANG Guoqiang, head of the Chinese delegation, at 52nd session of COPUOS

(June 3, 2009)
2009/06/04

Mr. chairman,

First of all, please allow me, on behalf of my delegation, to congratulate you on your continued chairmanship of the current session of COPUOS. I am confident that under your and the bureau's able leadership, this session will be crowned with success. My delegation will as always participate actively in this session.

Mr. chairman,

This morning, Chinese taikonaut, Mr. Yang Liwei, walked us through China's extraordinary journey in manned space flights. I am sure that as well as give you an idea of China's achievements in the rapid development of its space activities, this review will enable you to better understand the hard-working and enterprising spirit of Chinese astronauts. China's manned space missions not only represent the Chinese nation's outstanding contribution to human exploration and utilization of outer space, but also epitomize the great voyage of humanity in the exploration and use of outer space and give expression to the concept of harmony in outer space practiced by China.

Mr. chairman,

The Chinese government has always stood for and abided by the principle of peaceful use of outer space and considered this an important part of efforts to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. China is unswervingly committed to peaceful development and opposed to bringing weapons and an arms race into outer space. China is ready to join with the international community in efforts to maintain peace and tranquillity in outer space and use outer space to promote human civilization and social progress for the maximum benefit of humanity.

Mr. chairman,

The fundamental goal of building a harmonious outer space is to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes. In the past year, China continued to adhere to the objectives of the peaceful use of outer space and vigorously develop its space activities, achieving significant results.

China's capabilities in areas such as satellite development and applications, aerospace infrastructure and logistical support as well as space exploration have further improved. In addition to manned missions, our lunar exploration program and deep-space exploration activities have also moved into new phases. In China, space technology is being widely used in such fields as agriculture, forestry, land and resources, education, water conservancy, urban and rural development, the environment, survey and mapping, transportation, meteorology, oceanography, and regional scientific research, bringing a sea change in the life of our people.

Mr. chairman,

Outer space is the common property of humanity and its exploration and use concerns all humanity. Strengthening international cooperation in the outer space area to promote common development in all countries is the main path to a harmonious outer space advocated by China. The Chinese government has earnestly implemented the various UNISPACE III recommendations and highly evaluated the role of the conference. In addition, the Chinese government has been working hard along with UNOOSA toward the early operation of the UN-SPIDER Beijing office.

Mr. chairman,

The Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization began operation last December in Beijing, and has played a positive role in promoting space technology cooperation in the Asian-Pacific region. As host country, the Chinese government will continue to support that organization's various activities and its request to be granted observer status with COPUOS.

China's cooperation with many countries in the space area has also been fruitful. Last February, in the aftermath of forest fires in Australia, the Chinese government provided timely and effective assistance to Australian disaster relief effort with 141 frames of satellite imagery and 24 issues of fire monitoring and analysis products. On May 20 this year, China and Brazil signed agreements on providing data from the CBERS-02B satellite to African countries via ground stations in South Africa, Egypt and Spain. China is ready to cooperate in space technology with more countries, the many developing countries in particular, with an open mind and responsible attitude.

Harmony in outer space is impossible without the robust guarantee of space law. In the current legal framework governing outer space constituted mainly by the 5 UN treaties on outer space, states find the legal basis for most of their activities in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space. The Chinese government is also appreciative of efforts by the international community to explore new ways to regulate space activities, such as the UNGA-endorsed Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and the Safety Framework for NPS Applications in Outer Space being developed by the STSC and the IAEA. We are also of the view, however, that the existing space law is not sufficient to effectively prevent the militarization of outer space, hence the need to address this issue and maintain peace in outer space by discussing and elaborating new legal instruments without prejudice to the current legal regime.

Mr. chairman,

The Chinese government is prepared to work with the international community toward building a harmonious outer space that is more peaceful, orderly, development-oriented and prosperous.

Thank you, Mr. chairman.

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