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In the current situation, it is critically important to maintain the global strategic balance and stability and the legal system governing international arms control and disarmament. China has consistently advocated the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of chemical weapons, biological weapons and nuclear weapons. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the significant role of space activities in implementing the strategy of revitalising the country with science and education and that of sustainable development, as well as in economic construction, national security, science and technology development and social progress.

China shall rely on its own strength to tackle key problems and make breakthroughs in space technology. Due attention should be given to international co-operation and exchanges in the field of space technology, and self-renovation in space technology shall be combined organically with technology import or the principles of mutual benefit and reciprocity. China carries out its space activities for satisfying the fundamental demands of its modernisation drive. China's distinctive path to space development includes both military applications and international co-operation.


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An important characteristic of China's military space is that it relies heavily on its co-operation with other countries. In the United States this co-operation caused a great political dispute and led to a Congressional investigation, especially in connection with space launch market co-operation. China is therefore opposed to any militarisation of space, including and especially space-based missile defence systems.

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China has made strong statements against any type of arms race, including arms race in space. In both the and white papers on national defence, China called for the creation of a multilateral mechanism to prevent an arms race in outer space. Most importantly, Beijing opposes the use of space-based equipment is missile defence systems, such as the space-based sensors and intercept warheads in outer space potentially to be deployed is planed US missile defence systems. China is concerned that the US deployment of missile defences, especially national missile defence NMD , will negate its strategic nuclear deterrent, potentially forcing China into an expensive arms race that it cannot currently afford.

Without a formal multilateral agreement banning the deployment of space-based weapons, the United States will have an increasing strategic advantage for the foreseeable future. For example, in early , a war game in Colorado pitted the United States against an opponent threatening a small neighbour i.


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As a result of these reports, China increasingly views itself as the target of US increased militarisation and possible weaponisation of space It also means that China offers a whole new range of space co-operation options. Europe is already increasing space co-operation with China. Germany participated earlier in Chinese communications satellite development.

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The first was launched in July For the United States, the same issues that have limited other exchanges technology transfer, human rights and weapons sales will have to be overcome before China can become a space partner In May , Chinese and Russian industrial representatives signed an agreement for co-operation on ten projects. In , China and Russia signed a protocol for space co-operation.

In April , the Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a joint understanding on space co-operation with Chinese space officials that included training Chinese specialists at Russia's cosmonaut training facility at Star City. By the end of the Russian Space Agency was reported to be close to signing contracts with China concerning commercial spacecraft launches, although it is unclear what the outcome was. Similarly, details regarding a framework agreement between China and Kazakhstan in remain elusive.

The assistance from Russia and the former Soviet Republics provides the greatest source of space co-operation for China, because Russia does not place significant restrictions on its co-operation. The priority areas the Chinese identified were the purchase of a domestic communications satellite system and access to NASA's earth resource sensing satellites The Chinese announced its intent to market its satellite launches on the international market in This forced the Chinese government to focus its attention on its relations with the United States.

In fact, all commercial communication satellites are manufactured by US companies or include US components which have meant that export licences are required. Beijing has said it is not engaged in competition with the other space powers. But weaponisation of outer space many not be a dominant issue among the space-faring nations. There are technical issues which catch attention such as dual-use technology, the stormy remote sensing regime may have greater implications in space policy-making in the future.

China acceded to the Outer Space Treaty in December 30th The Outer Space Treaty is the most comprehensive of all the international agreements concerned with outer space, containing measures on both the peaceful uses of outer space and arms limitation in that environment. The Outer Space Treaty is a weapons-specific treaty, which prohibits, inter alia, the placing or testing of nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction in outer space The Limited Test Ban Treaty and the Environmental Modification Convention are two activity-specific instruments that do not prohibit the placing or use of weapons in outer space but do cover certain effects, which the use of these devices could have on the outer space environment.

This includes the testing of any nuclear weapons or any other nuclear explosion, as well as engagements in military or any other hostile use of environmental modification techniques in particular circumstances. Other constraints on military use of outer space, as mentioned earlier, include bilateral agreements undertaken between the United States and the former Soviet Union, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty being the most important of such agreements to date.

The Moon Agreement, which contains some very important prohibitions of military use of outer space, has been signed or ratified by only thirteen states. As a result, the international regime on outer space is not as extensive as it may appear.

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The problem of treaty adherence implies that, among the major prohibitions related to weapons and other military use of outer space, only those inscribed in the Outer Space Treaty are in force for the majority of the international community. Prohibitions in weapons-specific agreements do not comprise all possible forms of military use technologies.

source site Major efforts to improve the international regime directed to closing the gap regarding the placing into orbit of conventional or other weapons, which are not considered weapons of mass destruction. These efforts coupled with initiatives to establish a total ban on research, production, testing, storage, and the use of Earth or space-based systems designed to damage, destroy or interfere with the operations of objects in outer space. However, these initiatives are faced with major problems of political, military, practical and financial natures, which countries have for years failed to surmount.

It also suggests that China may be developing a direct-ascent anti-satellite ASAT weapon, systems to jam US navigation satellite signals, and ground-based lasers to damage optical sensors on satellites. Zhang Houying, a space application specialist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences explained in February that Shenzhou spacecraft carry equipment for military surveillance.

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The Shenzhou V carries a camera capable of a ground resolution of 1. The Bush administration will most likely continue to avoid any agreement that could curtail its plans to develop and deploy missile defence systems. In session of the UNCD, the Bush administration seemed unwilling to alter its stance, even if it meant continued stagnation on other issues such as a fissile material treaty. Officially, the United States has opposed the formation of an ad hoc committee, in part criticising the ambiguity of the proposed mandate. As a result, China has blocked further work on a treaty to control fissile material, which the United States believes to be a priority for the UNCD.

This has lead to stalemate since , preventing agreement on a Programme of Work and essentially stalling the work of the entire Conference.

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The United States, however, found this compromise unacceptable since the assumption remained that the final product of these discussions would be in the form of a formal agreement In May , the delegations of China and Russian Federation jointly presented a working paper to the UNCD, in the hope that all other delegations will carefully study, support and co-sponsor this paper.

But in September , the UNCD once again ended its session without reaching an agreement on a programme of work However, the exact military applications that the Chinese envisage are at best speculative at this stage. China also plans to build and orbit its own space station.

Official authorization to start its development was granted in February and, since then, a test chamber has been built The manned space flight, therefore, must be seen in the context of integrated civil-military benefits. Establishing independent satellite navigation and positioning systems, so critical for military missions, and surveillance capabilities from space are part of that plan. While such capabilities are impressive, they do not necessarily translate into improved ICBM expertise. Chinese satellite and space programmes are a nearly indiscernible mix of civilian and military components and research which takes place at joint military and commercial facilities.

As China comes to rely on its own civil and military satellite systems, it will be faced with the same vulnerabilities now faced by the United States. It seems uncertain that developing this technology is of great interest to China and the government has apparently committed considerable resources to satellite and space programmes. China has been researching and developing ASAT technologies for several years but its degree of commitment to the production and launch of ASAT and satellite weapons is uncertain The meteorological satellites, resource satellites, oceanic satellites and disaster monitoring satellites can be developed into an Earth observation system for long-term stable operation to conduct stereoscopic observation and dynamic monitoring of the land, atmosphere, and oceanic environments of the country, the peripheral regions and even the whole globe;.

The exploration and utilisation of space resources shall meet a wide range of demands of economic construction, state security, science and technology development and social progress, and contribute to increasing the comprehensive national strength;. China may already have access to advanced satellite tracking radar detection, monitoring and targeting military assets as well as to anti-GPS Global Positioning System jamming technology.

Scheduled to be functional by , it is designed to provide users, ranging from aircraft and ships to surface transport vehicles and hikers and trekkers, with a navigational fix accurate to the meter. Although Galileo is designed specifically for civil purposes and is a real alternative to the de facto monopoly of the military in outer space. China has already invested heavily in this project. But over the five decades of space flight it has been well established that reconnaissance satellites are far more effective than crewed missions when it comes to the military uses of space.

In any case, it seems reasonable to assume that Chinese money spent on peaceful space endeavours—such as participation in the International Space Station project and perhaps in joint missions to the moon and Mars—is money not spent on the military uses of space This is an important assumption. The scale of China's military programme, the progress made in Chinese technology may be assessed through its commercial programmes. The commercial aspects of China's space launchers have been in the hands of the China Great Wall Industry Corporation since the end of the s.

The United States have put tighter controls on the export of sensitive equipment, and banned American companies launching their satellites from China Harmonization of legal regimes is a goal of any reconciliation project, although such harmonization may not always be readily possible. In such circumstances legal interpretative mechanisms that seek either a vertical hierarchy jus cogens or a horizontal priority lex specialis may apply, but their utility is often elusive in particular situations. Hence, in those situations identification of relevant state practice can provide a more reliable guide as to treaty context and thus better identify respective objective preferences.

Though even here there may not be sufficient state practice, or it might be too diffuse. It offers a set of principles that might be invoked as a solution. Such an approach is advanced as means of resolving differences by assimilating common value commitments contained within both the IHL and the Outer Space treaty regimes to provide a viable means of harmonization. Advanced Search.

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