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Statement by Mr. LIAO Gangqiang at the Fourth Committee of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Agenda Item 53 International Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

2018-10-23 02:07

Mr. Chairman,

The Chinese delegation would like to start by thanking Ms. Rosa María Ramírez de Arellano, Chairperson of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS). It was under her able leadership that the UNISPACE+50 High-Level Segment and the 61st Session of COPUOS achieved complete success. We wish also to take this opportunity to express our thanks to Ms. Pontsho Maruping, Chairperson of the Science and Technology Subcommittee (STSC), Mr. Andrzej Misztal, Chairperson of the Legal Subcommittee, Ms. Simonetta Di Pippo, Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), and the Secretariat for their hard work.

This year’s UNISPACE+50 is a milestone for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. The draft GA resolution on the achievements of UNISPACE endorsed at the high-level segment represents a full consensus of all parties and calls for efforts towards “realizing a shared vision for the future in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and for the benefit and in the interest of all humankind”. It reflects the general aspirations of the international community and points a way forward for strengthening international outer space governance and cooperation and responding to challenges on the peaceful uses of outer space in the new era. China supports the adoption of this draft resolution at the current GA session and stands ready to join the international efforts for its implementation, including by bolstering the function and role of COPUOS and those of its subcommittees and the UNOOSA, so as to provide an institutional guarantee for improving outer space governance.

As per the UNISPACE+50 outcomes, developing the “Space 2030 Agenda” and its Implementation Plan will be UNOOSA’s priority in the next two years. The “Space 2030 Agenda” should reflect the concerns and aspirations of countries with different space capacities in a comprehensive and balanced manner, and be fully aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other important development agendas, so as to ensure more extensive application of space technologies, greater capacity building, closer international cooperation and the sustainable development of outer space and humankind.

The working group on the Long-term Sustainability (LTS) of Outer Space Activities has completed its mandate in June this year. China commends the contributions from Mr Peter Martinez, Chair of the Working Group from South Africa, and all the other participants. The working group agreed on the Preamble and 21 guidelines, the latter of which have yet to be tested in practice. In addition, no agreement was reached at the end of the consultation on seven other guidelines and a greater number of LTS-related issues had not been developed into draft guidelines for discussion. China is ready to continue the consultation process under the aegis of COPUOS with all the stakeholders so as to arrive at a package arrangement on issues such as the follow-up working mechanism and the form in which to adopt the guidelines.

As the exploration, development and utilization of space resources is a new type of outer space activities, the relevant international rules and regimes should be gradually improved on the basis of the basic legal framework defined by the Outer Space Treaty, and should balance the needs for motivating greater scientific and technological advancement, regulating commercial exploitation and sharing the benefits reaped from outer space. COPUOS should be the primary platform on which to discuss these issues so as to ensure universality and consistency of the rules. China supports continuous discussions at the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee on the related topics and trusts that the establishment of working groups will make the Committee’s work more effective.

Mr. Chairman,

Allow me to use this opportunity to highlight some of the progress that China has made over the past year in its space activities and international cooperation. On 21 May this year, China successfully launched the "Queqiao" relay satellite, the world's first communications satellite that runs at the Lagrange point between the Earth and the Moon. It aims to provide local relay communications between the Earth and the Moon to enable the “Chang’e 4” mission to make a soft landing on, and roam and survey, the far side of the Moon. The Beidou Global Navigation and Positioning System will be available across the globe in 2020. At present, it has 34 satellites in orbit, including 14 satellites in the Beidou III system. China’s space station programme is in full swing. The plan is to complete the construction of the space station and put it into service around 2022.

China signed over 100 agreements on space cooperation with more than 30 countries and international organizations. Chinese spacecraft, such as the “Chang’e 4” probe, the “Queqiao” relay satellite and “Zhangheng 1”, the first seismo-electromagnetic satellite, carried or will be carrying payloads developed by Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Italy and Austria. China successfully completed on-orbit deliveries of the third remote sensing satellite for Venezuela and the first communications satellite for Algeria. Leveraging its strengths in satellite resources, China has contributed satellite remote sensing data on both domestic disasters and emergencies and major international natural disasters, such as the floods in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the earthquake in Mexico and the volcanic eruption in Guatemala.

China is also very committed to using its space technologies to assist participating countries in the “Belt and Road” initiative. In June this year, the “Fengyun 2H” meteorological satellite adjusted its stationary position to provide meteorological services for countries and regions along the route of the “Belt and Road” initiative. China will also work with the participating countries to build a “Belt and Road” spatial information corridor, to facilitate information exchange and connectivity between regions and territories along the route.

China has stepped up efforts to expand outer space cooperation through the United Nations and other fora. On 28 May, China and the United Nations issued "The First Announcement of Opportunity for Space Experiments Onboard China Space Station", an invitation to countries to take part in the experiments in and out the cabin and other activities aboard future China Space Station. The Chinese government will soon co-host with the UN the "United Nations International Conference on the Use of Space-Based Technologies for Disaster Risk Managements - Enhancing Disaster Preparedness for Effective Emergency Response" in Beijing, as well as the 13th Meeting of the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (ICG-13) in Xi'an. China continues to support the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO) in its regional space cooperation endeavours. APSCO's tenth anniversary conference series will be held in Beijing in November.

In 2017, the UN-affiliated Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia-Pacific (CSSTEAP), hosted in Beihang University of China, granted scholarships to 50 postgraduate students from 12 countries and ran five training workshops for 207 students from 30 countries. So far this year, the Center has run three workshops, with 120 participants from 25 countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Keeping the outer space safe and secure is a basic guarantee for the peaceful uses of outer space. China is consistently committed to the peaceful uses of outer space and is against placement of weapons in outer space and an arms race in outer space. The Chinese Government is ready to work with the rest of the world to develop the outer space in a way that better serves the interests of all countries’ economic development and social progress, so that together, we can build an outer space of peace, rule of law and development, truly to the benefit of humankind as a whole.

Thank you. Mr. Chairman.

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