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China, Russia Propose Ban on Space Weapons

China and Russia have jointly proposed a ban on the use of weapons in outer space, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday.

Liu said that China has always supported the peaceful utilization of outer space and opposed an arms race in space.

The Chinese hold that the international community should take effective measures to maintain peace and stability in outer space, the spokesman said.

In recent years, the United Nations General Assembly has adopted resolutions urging the Conference on Disarmament - as the only multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations, held in the Swiss city of Geneva - to make a fresh contribution to reaching, through negotiations, an international legal instrument on the prevention of an arms race in space.

Liu added that China and Russia had recently given members of the disarmament conference in Geneva their working paper on the prevention of the deployment, use and threat of use of weapons in outer space.

The spokesman said that both countries were soliciting opinions from other countries. China and Russia wish to conclude an international legal instrument through negotiations at the UN conference at an early date to ensure that outer space is used for entirely peaceful purposes, said Liu.

Asked to comment on a Japanese senior official's remarks that Tokyo might one day abandon its decades-old policy against nuclear weapons, Liu said: "Japan has reaffirmed its commitment to its non-nuclear policy to some relevant countries, including China, through diplomatic channels."

On Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a press conference that, in his view, Japan could one day possess nuclear weapons.

Japan has so far adhered to its three non-nuclear principles, whereby it refrains from possessing, manufacturing and introducing nuclear weapons into Japanese territory.

"We hope they can honor this commitment," Liu said.

(China Daily June 5, 2002)

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