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Statement by H.E. Ambassador ZHANG Yishan, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Fourth Committee of the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly, on Item 82: International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

2003-10-21 21:00

New York, 21 October 2003

Mr. Chairman,


At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Delegation, to express thanks and appreciation to the Bureau of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs for the positive outcome of the 46th Session of COPUOS. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the previous speakers for their heartfelt congratulations onChina's successful launch of “Shenzhou V” manned spacecraft.

Mr. Chairman,

The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, at its 46th session, continued to consider ways and means of maintaining outer space for peaceful purposes. It is the consistent position of the Chinese government that outer space should be explored and used solely for peaceful purposes, however, the increasingly evident trend of using outer space for military purposes is not only posing a grave threat to the peaceful uses of outer space, but also having a negative impact on the process of international arms control and disarmament and on the international security environment in general. We believe that, in the face of this threat, there is a need to negotiate a legally binding international instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

While considering the report submitted by the Legal Subcommittee, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space discussed two sub-items related to the draft protocol on matters specific to space assets to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment: 1) the possibility of the United Nations serving as supervisory authority under the draft protocol; 2) the relationship between the terms of the draft protocol and the rights and obligations of States under the existing legal regime applicable to outer space. With regard to the first point,China is not opposed to the United Nations serving as supervisory authority as long as it is guaranteed that no additional financial burden should be placed on the United Nations and that the UN should be immune from any liability for damages. As for the second point, we believe that the terms of the draft protocol should be based on the existing space law and the respect for the fundamental principles contained therein and that, in case of conflict, the existing principles should prevail. We support the continued consideration of this item to look into specific ways to harmonize the draft protocol with the existing legal regime applicable to outer space.

With regard to the item “implementation of the recommendations of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), the Chinese Delegation attaches great importance to the implementation of the relevant recommendations. It actively participated in the work of the relevant Action Teams and as co-chair of Action Team 7 on Disaster Reduction and Management, worked with Canada and France to implement the action plan in an active and effective manner. China will as always support the implementation of the recommendations of UNISPACE III, continue to be actively involved in the work of Action Team 7 to promote and facilitate the implementation of an integrated, space-based global natural disaster management system.

Mr. Chairman, I wish now to give a brief account of the achievements China has made over the last year in its space activities. After the successful launching and recovery of the test spacecrafts “Shenzhou III” and “Shenzhou IV”, China successfully launched the “Shenzhou V” manned spacecraft on October 15 2003. This achievement indicates that the Chinese space exploration activities have entered a brand-new era. Additionally, the fourth polar-orbiting meteorological satellite “Fengyun-1D” and the first marine satellite “Haiyang-1” were successfully launched into orbit, thereby upgrading China's capacity for global meteorological observation, providing a scientific basis for rational exploration of marine resources, marine pollution control, maritime disaster monitoring and control and marine environment protection, and playing a significant role in China’s integrated coastal management and regional economic development planning. Last May, the third navigation satellite “Beidou—1” was successfully launched into orbit, thereby forming a regional navigation and positioning network. This system is primarily intended to serve China’s economic development, offering efficient navigation and positioning services for transportation, meteorology, petroleum industry, oceanography, forest fire prevention, disaster forecast, telecommunications, public security and other sectors. Moreover, China has cooperated with many other countries including Brazil in the field of outer space over the last year. China values such international cooperation.

Mr. Chairman, we are pleased to note that new achievements continue to be made in the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space, that more and more countries are paying ever-greater attention to the application of space science and technology, that the scope for peaceful uses of outer space is widening, and that international cooperation is being strengthened. As a consistent supporter of all the efforts aimed at peaceful uses of outer space, China maintains that international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space should be enhanced and strengthened on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, complementarity and common development. China will continue its efforts to expand its space cooperation with the rest of the world to harness space technology for a better life for mankind.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


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