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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 43, January - February 2000

Chinese CD PAROS Working Paper

"China's Position on and Suggestions for Ways to Address the Issue of Prevention of An Arms Race in Outer Space [PAROS] at the Conference on Disarmament", Geneva, February 8, 2000.


Outer space belongs to all mankind. All countries have equal rights in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes although their levels of economic and scientific development may differ. It is the shared desire of all mankind to forestall the spread of weapons and arms race in outer space.

Some people believe that since currently there is no arms race in outer space, the CD has no need to discuss its prevention or negotiate the conclusion of international legal instruments in this regard. However, history and reality have both shown not only that there are indeed attempts, programmes and moves unilaterally to seek military and strategic superiority in or control over outer space but that there have been new developments in this respect. Such development, if unchecked, may lead to the weaponization of outer space in the near future or even to a multilateral arms race in outer space. …

PAROS at the CD

As the single multilateral disarmament forum, the Conference on Disarmament (Conference) should concentrate on the most pressing and prominent issues in international arms control and disarmament… PAROS is one such important issue, and should therefore be a top priority at the Conference. The Conference should play a primary role in the negotiations to prevent any form of arms race in outer space…the Conference must first re-establish the Ad Hoc Committee under agenda item 3 to negotiate and conclude an international legal instrument prohibiting the testing, deployment and use of weapons, weapons systems and components in outer space so as to prevent the weaponization of, and arms race in, outer space.

Chinese Views on Existing International Legal Instruments

A number of international legal instruments on the peaceful uses of outer space and the prevention of an arms race in outer space have been concluded… However, these instruments have been ineffective in preventing the weaponization of and the arms race in outer space. Some have imposed limited prohibitions and contained many loopholes and ambiguities. Some have not been fully complied with or are in danger of being violated, amended or even abrogated. Most crucially, as they have failed to reflect the latest developments in aerospace technology they cannot prevent the potential weaponization of or an arms race in outer space in the twenty-first century.

China's Basic Position on PAROS

China has always opposed arms races, in outer space and elsewhere… With the use of military satellites, outer space has already been militarized to some extent… What should be particularly emphasized is that the Powers with the greatest space capabilities bear a special responsibility… Pending the conclusion of a new multilateral legal instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space, all countries concerned should undertake not to test, deploy or use any weapons, weapons systems or components in outer space.

Tentative Ideas on New International Instruments

The Chinese delegation tentatively suggests the new international legal instruments… might contain the following basic elements: Purposes; Basic obligations; Definitions article; National implementation measures provision and the establishment of organizations to ensure their implementation; International co-operation article; Verification - inspections or alternative means; Mechanism for consultations, clarifications and resolution of disputes; Confidence-building measures; and Procedural Articles …"

© 2000 The Acronym Institute.

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