China, Russia Appeal for Ban on Space Weapons

China and Russia have called for a quick start to talks on a treaty to ban weapons in outer space. The two countries delivered their warmly-welcomed proposal at a session of the UN-backed Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Supporters, including many European and nearly all developing countries, say it is vital that the 1967 treaty banning weapons of mass destruction in outer space is not undermined.

In June of last year, China and Russia, together with Vietnam, Belarus, Zimbabwe and Syria issued a working document to the Conference on Disarmament, stressing that the deployment of weapons in outer space should be prevented.

Over the year, delegations from China and Russia have held many briefings, seminars and bilateral talks on the issue.

The two countries have compiled many constructive amendment opinions from other countries, and re-launched the proposal at this meeting.

At present, the risk of the presence of weapons in outer space is mounting. With the US withdrawal last year from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, there is no reliable legal pact barring countries from using outer space for military purposes.

What's more, certain countries are making efforts to control and occupy areas of outer space.

With the development of space weapons, the military and strategic value of outer space has been unveiled. Countries such as the US are stressing the importance of a space weapons system, which has been met with criticism from less powerful states.

Observers say outer space is the common property of all humankind. All countries have the right and the obligation to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes.

Russia is taking steps to guarantee the transparency of its space program and reduce fears about its own space activities by providing advance notice of any probe launches, their purpose and their flight paths.

Analysts believe people should not wait until it is too late to prevent the arm race in outer space. It is commonly held that this potential problem should be nipped in the bud. That is the original intention of China and Russia, and is also the reason why the proposal is backed by so many countries.

People's Daily Online ---