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China calls on world powers to prevent arms race in space

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 18:16

Beijing: China on Wednesday asked the international community to begin negotiations on a legally binding agreement for a weapons-free outer space based on a Sino-Russian proposal on the issue.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chuying made the remarks at a routine press briefing when asked to comment on an updated draft international treaty banning the deployment of weapons in outer space.

The draft treaty was jointly submitted by China and Russia to a UN-sponsored disarmament conference.

The Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects, was presented at a plenary session of the Conference on Disarmament -- the world`s sole multilateral forum for disarmament negotiations – yesterday.

The new draft treaty has supplemented, revised and refined some clauses of the one that China and Russia presented in 2008, Hua said.

The changes include the definition and scope of the treaty, and the organisations and mechanisms it charges with solving disputes, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

"This is a positive effort made by China and Russia to promote negotiation on producing an arms control treaty in outer space and preventing an arms race there," Hua said.

It is the obligation of the international community to safeguard peace and tranquility in space, she said, reiterating that China has always advocated peaceful use of outer space and opposed its weaponisation.

Hua called on nations around the world to start negotiations on a legally binding agreement as soon as possible on the basis of the China-Russia draft treaty.

"We hope that individual countries will seriously listen to calls from the international community and treat the negotiation initiative with a constructive attitude," she added.

China earlier had destroyed a defunct weather satellite in orbit in 2007, creating over 3,000 pieces of debris in space.

Reports have also suggested that a Chinese rocket launch in May 2013 billed as a research mission was actually a test of a new anti-satellite weapon based on a road-mobile ballistic missile.

First Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 18:16

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