|Statement by Mr. Zhou Wu At the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly On Agenda Item 53International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space|
In June this year, the 58th Session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space of UN (COPUOS) was successfully held in Vienna with positive progress on various items. The Chinese delegation would like to extend its appreciation to Mr. Oussedik, chairman of COPUOS and other members of the bureau for the work they have done. Our thanks also go to Mr. Elöd Both, chairman of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee; Mr. Kai-Uwe Schrogl, chairman of the Legal Subcommittee; Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, director of the Office for Outer Space Affairs; and the Secretariat for their hard work.
The Chinese delegation highly appreciates the significant role COPUOS has played in strengthening the rule of law, international cooperation, and capacity building in outer space; China supports COPUOS in its efforts to promote synergy between space technology and global sustainable development in line with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development; China hopes that COPUOS will seize the opportunity presented by UNISPACE + 50 to better plan and integrate its future work so as to make greater contributions to the promotion of peaceful uses of outer space.
Long-term sustainability of outer space activities (LTS) is an important item for the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, and currently also a key issue in the area of outer space. As an active participant of the LTS working group, the Chinese delegation highly appreciates the significant progress the working group has made under the leadership of its Chairman Mr. Martinez. China is of the view that the current Draft Guide submitted by the working group provides a good basis for the parties to further consider the relevant issues. China believes that the launching of an LTS guide should be based on the reality of space technology development and activities, fully accommodate the concerns of all parties, and follow the principle of consensus. China is ready to work with all parties to push for positive progress of the relevant work.
This year's COPUOS session decided to include two new items in the next year’s agenda of the Legal Subcommittee, namely, "space traffic management" and "application of international law to small satellite activities." China believes that the discussion of these two items is of positive significance for increasing transparency of outer space activities, guaranteeing orderly conduct of space activities, and enhancing security in outer space. Meanwhile, it needs to be pointed out that the concept of "space traffic management", though proposed a long time ago, remains uncertain in concept, and it could overlap with the existing agenda items of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. Care needs to be taken of its coherence with the existing space-related law, and ensure that the relevant item do not go beyond the legal framework for outer space with the “Outer Space Treaty” at the core.
Over the past year, China's space industry has continued its rapid growth with new achievements in space launch, manned space flight, and Beidou navigation among others. In 2015, China has conducted a total of six space launches, successfully sending seven space crafts into outer space. China's manned space project has fully switched to a new R&D stage of space lab and space station. Meanwhile, China’s space technology application capacity continues to grow. Our high resolution satellite Gaofen-2 has been put into service, thereby ushering in a new era in which our remote sensing satellites are able to provide sub-meter level images. China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System, or COMPASS, has maintained its continuous stable service. With the successful launch of 3 new generation navigation satellites with better performance, it is gradually building up its global service capabilities.
The Chinese Government has consistently advocated that on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, peaceful uses and common development, countries should conduct international exchanges and cooperation, especially to help developing countries strengthen their capacity building and improve their space technology application capabilities so that all countries and peoples can share the benefits of exploration and use of outer space. To this end, the Chinese government has continued its vigorous promotion of bilateral and multilateral cooperation with positive results.
At the bilateral level, this year, China National Space Administration signed 11 inter-governmental and inter-agency agreements with 10 countries and international organizations including Russia, Brazil, Egypt, Sweden, and the United Nations, and established 3 joint committee mechanisms on space cooperation with Argentina, India and Indonesia. In addition, this year saw the establishment of a new “ governmental dialogue mechanism of civil space cooperation between China and the US” under the umbrella of China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue; at the end of September, China-US Civil Space Dialogue held its first meeting in Beijing.
At the multilateral level, China has continued its full attendance to the meetings of international organizations including UN-COPUOS, the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), the International Deep Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), and the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS). During the COPUOS Session this year, the China National Space Administration invited all interested countries to use the platform offered by Chang’e 4 to conduct joint lunar exploration and research. In September this year, China National Space Administration officially signed the "Memorandum of Understanding on Earth Observation Data and Technical Support” with the United Nations, and the two sides will conduct extensive cooperation in the area of remote sensing data.
China attaches great importance to international cooperation in the area of disaster prevention and mitigation. Over the past year, China has responded to 7 requests from response mechanisms under the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters, and performed 4 rounds of international emergency duty officer services, providing effective information support for the disaster monitoring and assessment of the affected areas. Also in this year when Tibet was hit by an earthquake, China National Space Administration activated the emergency response mechanism under the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters; 7 agencies and 14 satellites provided 976 views of remote sensing data on the Tibetan earthquake. These data lent strong support and assistance to China in its disaster relief efforts, for which I wish to extend thanks on behalf of the Chinese Government to the relevant countries and agencies.
Last November, the UN-affiliated Asia-Pacific Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education was inaugurated at Beihang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics). At present, with two new admissions, Argentina and Bangladesh, the membership of this Regional Centre has expanded to 10. With the support of the Chinese Government, the Regional Centre at Beihang University is now in full swing to take forward its work in various fields with positive results: the Centre’s program for overseas students is running smoothly with 42 admissions in three fields of interest, namely, remote sensing cum geographic information system, global satellite navigation system, and small satellite technology, and they all started classes in September this year. In addition, the center also organized 3 training courses covering areas such as satellite navigation technology and application, law and policy on outer space, and earth observation technology, thus positively contributing to international cooperation and national capacity-building in space technology.
Outer space is a common heritage of mankind. Ensuring its peaceful uses, opposing its weaponization and preventing arms race in outer space are not only a shared interest but also a common responsibility of all States. China is always committed to peaceful uses of outer space and firmly opposed to its weaponization and arms race in outer space, China is also strongly supportive of international negotiations for a multilateral outer space arms control treaty so as to fundamentally safeguard outer space security.
At the current GA session, the First Committee and the Fourth Committee will hold joint meetings on outer space. China always supports this proposal and believes that such joint meetings will help facilitate the coordination and interaction among space-related mechanisms within the UN system so that they can respond more effectively to the common risks and challenges they face. China hopes the joint meetings will keep a balance between space security and sustainable use to enable the parties to have full exchanges of views on issues of their concern.
China is ready to join hands with other States and international organizations in strengthening international exchanges and cooperation in outer space. Together let’s stay committed to the long-term sustainability of space activities and contribute to the building of an outer space featuring peace, development, cooperation and the rule of law.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.