|Right of Reply Statement by H.E. Mr. LI Song, Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs of China, at the Thematic Discussion on Outer Space at the First Committee of the 74th Session of the UNGA|
During today’s conference, the U.S. and certain other countries attacked China’s space activities, and questioned China’s arms control policies in outer space. The Chinese delegation will not accept such accusations.
If the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space has already been or in the process of being a reality, the U.S. must be held responsible for it. As a superpower that has the most advanced space technology, the most active space operations, and the most comprehensive space militarization strategy, the essence of U.S. space strategy is to dominate this domain. Last December, the U.S. President clearly stated that, “the United States is taking steps to ensure that American national security is as dominant in space as it is here on Earth.”
The U.S. strategy to dominate outer space has been fueling its campaign to militarize outer space, and the “Star Wars” is becoming a reality. The National Space Strategy introduced by the Trump Administration ordered the establishment of a Space Force and a Space Command, and accelerates a series of space warfare simulations and related weapons tests. Here are my questions to the U.S. delegate: If another power is coveting dominance in outer space in the same manner as the U.S., what will the U.S. do about it? Are the U.S. still going to vehemently obstruct the negotiation of a legally-binding international instrument on PAROS in the CD? Are you still going to block the adoption of the UNGGE report?
I would like to reiterate that China is not the U.S., and will not seek the domination of outer space as the U.S. does. China has no intention to compete with the U.S. or any other state, be it on earth or in outer space. China is dedicated to peaceful development and pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, and does not participates in any form of arms race on earth or in outer space. All Chinese outer space activities are conducted in line with international law and its international commitments, and are not targeted at any specific state. No one will feel threatened by China if it has no intention to infringe upon China’s legitimate security interests.
Regarding the so-called issue of “China’s anti-satellite capabilities”, I would like to remind everyone that the draft PPWT submitted by China and Russia clearly prohibits any use or threat of force against outer space objects. This treaty obligation is sufficient to solve the issue of anti-satellite weapons. I would like to question the U.S. delegate: How many tests with anti-satellite purpose or potential have been conducted by the U.S. in the past decades? Will the U.S. be willing to bear the international legal obligation to refrain from using force against outer space objects, in the form of a legally-binding international treaty?
As to some people’s concern on the lack of a verification mechanism in PPWT, I would like to make a clarification. China and Russia propose that, due to the limitation of immature verification technology in outer space, we can put this issue aside and solve it with a future additional protocol. This is by no mean unprecedented in arms control treaties. For example, the U.S. and some other western states have similar proposals on the issue of verification in BWC.
The “outer space security” that the U.S. demands, is merely its own security in outer space. The fundamental goal of the international community should be to maintain the common and shared security for humanity in outer space. I believe that the international community does not wish to see an outer space in which the U.S. “dominates”, others “behave”. The rules of outer space must be formulated and observed by the international community. The security of outer space could only be built on the prevention of the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space. The Chinese side urges the U.S. abandon its space domination strategy and related arms control policies, join the international community with a sincere attitude to prevent the weaponization of and an arms race in outer space, restore peace and security in outer space, and never let the “Star Wars” be an enduring threat to the security of earth.
Thank you, Mr. President.