China and Russia presented new contributions Thursday on banning weapons in outer space, which got immediate support and appreciation from other countries.
At a meeting held in Geneva by the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD), China and Russia presented two informal papers concerning formulating a new international legal instrument to advance the work of the CD on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
Hu Xiaodi, ambassador for disarmament affairs of China, said the priority concern was to further consolidate the international consensus on the prevention of the weaponization of an arms race in outer space in the form of a legal commitment or a legal instrument.
In June 2002, seven delegations including China and the Russian Federation, tabled a working paper entitled Possible Elements for a Future International Legal Agreement on the Prevention of the Deployment of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects.
Russian Ambassador Leonid Skotnikov recalled that filling the gaps in existing international outer space law had been the purpose of the proposal by Russia and China.
The two countries also called on establishing an ad hoc committee on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
Hu Xiaodi said China has demonstrated considerable flexibility and hoped that other relevant sides would also show the necessary political will and flexibility by accepting the Five Ambassadors proposal to enable the CD to step out of its stalemate and to begin substantive work.
As a practical first step in this direction, Russia proposed to declare a moratorium on placement of weapons in outer space, pending conclusion of an appropriate agreement by the international community.
Representatives of Canada, France, Sweden and Sri Lanka spoke at the meeting to support establishing such an ad hoc committee.
(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2004)