China blasts US for being stumbling block in space arms control
Published: Sep 29, 2021 11:29 AM
Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Li Song addresses a meeting. Photo: file

Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Li Song addresses a meeting. Photo: file

Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) cannot be delayed any longer, Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs, Li Song, said when addressing the 2021 Outer Space Security Conference, urging the US not to stand in the way.

During the speech, Li said that the PAROS has been the common goal of the international community for space security since 1978. Over the past 40 years, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has been adopting the resolution on PAROS by overwhelming majority each and every year, requesting the Conference of Disarmament (CD) to negotiate a legally binding instrument. However, it could not happen during the Cold War in the context of intense competition in outer space between the two superpowers, with programs such as "Star Wars."

After the Cold War, especially in the past 20 years, the US has tried repeatedly to shirk its existing treaty obligations on arms control, and has refused to be bound by new legal instruments in domains such as outer space. Exactly because of its national strategy of "Space Dominance," the US rejected the CD's effort to start treaty negotiations on PAROS, Li noted. 

Li urged the US not to stand in the way of the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) negotiation in the CD.

Space war, like nuclear war, cannot be won and must never be fought. Safeguarding outer space security is a shared responsibility for all countries, especially space powers. Negotiating a legally binding instrument for PAROS is long overdue in multilateral arms control. It cannot be delayed any longer, Li noted. 

He continued that the PPWT submitted by Russia and China to the CD sticks to the long-term goals of PAROS, representing the law-based approach on how to effectively address challenges to space security. By prohibiting the placement of weapons in outer space as well as the use or threat of use of force against outer space objects, the PPWT could serve as an effective instrument to address the core issues in outer space security. 

Based on careful consideration of the dual-use nature of space technology and the complexity of possible space weapons, the key obligations in the PPWT focus on the two most threatening acts against the peaceful use of outer space, rather than singling out any specific weapon system. It is a result-oriented approach, focusing on acts, and providing an effective and feasible law-based solution for space security. 

China is committed to promoting the PPWT negotiation. Once it is concluded, we will call upon all the space powers to set good examples in upholding and implementing the treaty together with China, Li said. 

Global Times