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China Opposes Arms Race in Outer Space
A senior Chinese diplomat yesterday urged the international community to sign an international covenant preventing an outer space arms race.

Addressing an international conference on the disarmament agenda for the 21st century, Qiao Zonghuai, vice-minister of foreign affairs, spoke on effective ways to prevent the arms race.

The conference was jointly sponsored by the United Nations and China's Foreign Ministry.

Human beings have made huge achievements in the exploration and the utilization of outer space technology, Qiao said, thus greatly boosting the development of the world.

On March 25, China successfully launched its third unmanned spacecraft, the "Shenzhou III."

This success marks a huge step in the development of Chinese outer space technology, he added.

However, some countries are still developing outer space arms. Military strategies for "controlling outer space" and "ensuring advantage in outer space" have been put forward, which increase the likelihood of an arms race in outer space, he said.

He warned that if this happens, the peaceful development of outer space would be jeopardized, and the interests of all countries would be adversely affected.

The international community should adopt effective preventive measures and make a special international agreement to ban any weapons of destruction from outer space which could prevent a space arms race, he said.

Qiao also gave a brief account of China's proposals in this respect, which include banning weapon experimentation, banning the placement and use of any arms in outer space, and banning the use or threatened use of arms against any object in outer space.

Qiao also said China is willing to join hands with the international community and exert every effort for the passage of such an agreement to strive for peace in outer space.

Other participants of the meeting also voiced similar concerns, stressing the importance of banning weapons from the final frontier.

(Xinhua News Agency April 4, 2002)

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