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Statement by MA Xinmin, Head of the Chinese Delegation at the 58th session of COPUOS on the Future role of COPUOS

Mr President,

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) serves as a major UN platform for the deliberation of peaceful use of outer space, it is also a facilitator of the rule of law in outer space, a coordinator of outer space affairs and a leader in outer space capacity building. With flourishing outer space technologies and their applications nowadays, the actors and types of outer space activities have become increasingly diversified, which brings about many challenges to COPUOS. The Chinese delegation supports COPUOS to fully play its role in comprehensively promoting mankind’s peaceful use of outer space.

Mr President,

The Chinese delegation believes that strengthening the rule of law in outer space, capacity building in outer space and international cooperation in outer space are important pillars of COPUOS that safeguard the sustainable development of outer space activities. Looking forward, COPUOS should conform to new development trends, improve efficiency and effectiveness of its work with new working methods, so as to make progress in the above mentioned areas.

First and foremost, COPUOS should further strengthen the rule of law in outer space. COPUOS is the most important platform for legislation in outer space that enjoys a unique status in the development, interpretation, revision and application of outer space rules. China believes that, COPUOS should focus its work on the following areas: firstly, to promote the practical application of existing outer space treaties and their fundamental principles in accordance with new development of outer space activities. Secondly, to coordinate the setting of agenda items of COPUOS and its two subcommittees based on consensus of all parties, so as to promote joint efforts in the rule of law in outer space, and to facilitate the regulation and promotion of well-organized new outer space activities. Thirdly, to strengthen coordination with relevant international organizations in outer space legal affairs to ensure that the legal system of outer space is unified and fragmentation is avoided.

Secondly, COPUOS should improve capacity building in outer space. Currently, the Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) has adopted various measures in space basic science study, space technology application, research and teaching of outer space law and domestic legislation under the guidance of COPUOS, which have effectively improve countries’ capacity in outer space. China proposes that COPUOS should fully utilize platforms such as Basic research in space science, The Human Space Technology Initiative (HSTI), seminars on space law, so as to strengthen technical exchange and data sharing, improve developing countries’ capacity with targeted measures, eliminate technology embargo and technological barriers so that all countries can equally explore and use outer space. COPUOS should also continue to focus its support on regional centers and to strengthen cooperation and exchange of different regional centers.

Thirdly, COPUOS should deepen international cooperation in outer space. International cooperation serves both as a key principle of existing outer space treaties and an important purpose of COPUOS. China always actively supports the deliberation of the agenda item International mechanisms for cooperation in the peaceful exploration and use of outer space by Legal Subcommittee. China supports countries to exchange experience in cooperation, to find out legal mechanism for cooperation and to discuss concrete model for cooperation so as to regulate and facilitate international cooperation in outer space. At the same time, China believes that COPUOS should focus more on developing countries’ needs, and to promote action oriented, project-based, equal and mutually beneficial international cooperation so as to enable outer space development.

Mr President,

The number and complexity of outer space affairs is growing together with the development of mankind’s outer space activities. International mechanisms and rules related to outer space increase in number and interconnectivity. The Chinese delegation is of the view that, COPUOS should play a better coordinative and leading role among different mechanisms and processes within and outside of the UN framework so as to form synergy and avoid duplication and waste of resource. COPUOS may focus its attention on the following areas of work in the immediate term: First, strength communication with Conference on Disarmament, taking into account of the Joint meeting of the First and Fourth Committees. Secondly, to actively consider the ongoing discussion on all soft law processes in a coordinative manner. Thirdly, to harmonize the relationship between space technology and global sustainable development in view of the UN post 2015 development agenda. Fourthly, to develop and coordinate COPUOS’s way forward based on UNISPCE+50 activity.

Mr President,

China stands ready to work with all parties to facilitate COPUOS to make greater contribution to the promotion of peaceful exploration and use of outer space.

Thank you Mr President.

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