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Measures Urged to Prevent Outer Space Weaponization
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Weaponization of the outer space could pose serious threats to the world, so measures are urgently needed to prevent this from happening, a senior Chinese diplomat said in Geneva on Thursday.

"It is in the interest of all countries to protect the humanity from the threat of outer space weapons," Chinese Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs Cheng Jingye told a plenary session of the UN' s Conference on Disarmament (CD).

According to the ambassador, the deployment of weapons in outer space would bring unimaginable consequences.

"The outer space assets of all countries would be endangered, mankind's peaceful use of outer space threatened, and international peace and security undermined," he said.

Cheng stressed to the 65 member states of the CD that "prevention is far better than facing the consequences."

"It is true that so far there are still no weapons in outer space, but this should not become our excuse for sitting idly by," he said.

"The history of the development of nuclear weapons constantly reminds us that once outer space weapons become full-fledged, how difficult it would be to control them and to prevent their proliferation, let alone to eliminate them," he warned.

"We simply cannot afford to delay actions and wait until the deployment of outer space weapons and an arms race in outer space become a reality. The price would be too high," he added.

Cheng said the effective way to prevent outer space weaponization was to conclude a new international legal instrument.

"There is a sound basis and the conditions are ripe for negotiating such a legal instrument," he said, noting that there has been growing awareness and broad ground on the importance of prevention of an outer space arms race.

The ambassador recalled that in 2002, seven countries, namely Russia, China, Indonesia, Belarus, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and Syria, jointly presented a working paper to the CD.

The working paper, in a form of a treaty, puts forward detailed proposals on all composing elements of a new legal instrument on outer space security, he said.

The CD is focusing talks this month on prospects for launching negotiations on prevention of arms race in outer space.

The United States and Britain are almost alone among the CD's 65 member states in opposing the start of the negotiations.

(Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)

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