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People's Daily Online

Drive to eliminate arms race in outer space

People's Daily Online

(People's Daily Online) 08:47, April 21, 2014

China published its first space status report on Thursday April 17, elaborating the current situation and future trends in its international space activities.

The report was compiled by the research group of the Qian Xuesen Laboratory of Launch Vehicle Technology. In the next decade, peaceful use of outer space and military applications will enter an unprecedented phase of activity.

Voices calling for a new outer space treaty or 'Outer Space Code of Conduct' are becoming increasingly prominent.

Superiority in outer space has become a key means by which the United States maintains its superpower status. U.S. space assets account for 46% of the world total. With the world's largest satellite and ground-based facilities, the United States has established a network including strategic early warning, hotspot monitoring, real-time communications, precision-guided missiles, and rapid strike. In the Gulf War, the Kosovo War, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other regional conflicts involving the United States, this network has played an unparalleled role.

In recent years the United States has regulated the space activities of other countries through measures such as pre-launch briefings, outer space asset registration, monitoring debris trajectory to reduce damage and prevent collisions, and promoting its "multilateral code of outer space conduct".

But the United States has also sought through open bilateral dialogues with emerging space powers to gain insights into their strategic intentions and the level of development of their aerospace technology. Those nations are urged to cooperate with the U.S. to maintain the existing outer space order.

China and Russia have promoted negotiations on the draft of the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva with other countries, which have won international support.

Outer space is a unique resource for humanity. Managed sustainably, space activities will affect not only current interests, but also the future of the entire world. Countries should have an equal right to peaceful uses of outer space, and at the same time should also shoulder joint responsibility for its security.

The article is edited and translated from《防止外空武器化》, source: People's Daily, author: Hu Yumin. The author is the deputy secretary general of China Arms Control and Disarmament Association.

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