Statement by the Delegation of the United States to the
Conference on Disarmament
Ambassador Laura Kennedy
Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament
U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention Issues
February 8, 2011
Thank you, Mr. President, for facilitating this very useful discussion of space policy. We would also like to commend Canada for its long-standing focus on these important issues.
The U.S. National Space Policy released last June envisages that the United States will pursue pragmatic and voluntary confidence measures to strengthen stability in space by mitigating the risk of mishaps, misperceptions and mistrust. The National Space Policy has been augmented by our National Security Space Strategy, issued February 4, implementing that policy, which is also premised on the interest of all space-faring and space-using nations in a safe, stable and secure space environment. Our space strategy recognizes that space has become increasingly congested, contested and competitive and seeks to address these challenges by promoting responsible, peaceful and safe use of space partnerships with others. We recognize that all states are dependent on the peaceful use of outer space and should be involved in this issue, whether they are space-faring nations or not. The United States is a strong supporter of the 1967 Treaty on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to which our Argentinian colleague alluded.
We listened with great interest to the presentation made by the distinguished EU representative Mrs. Gianella. Consistent with our space policy, the United States is continuing to consult with the European Union on its initiative to develop a comprehensive set of multilateral TCBMs, the “Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities,” to strengthen stability in outer space. The U.S. will make a decision in the near term as to whether we can sign on to this code, including, what if any modifications we believe may be necessary.
We also look forward to working with our colleagues in the international community in the Group of Government Experts (GGE), which was established by Resolution 65/68 during the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. It is our hope that this GGE will serve as a constructive mechanism to examine voluntary and pragmatic TCBMs in space.
Our National Space Policy stipulates that the United States will consider space-related arms control concepts and proposals that meet the criteria of equitability and effective verification and which enhance the national security of the United States and its allies. The United States continues to support the inclusion of a non-negotiating, or discussion, mandate, in any consensus CD program of work under the agenda item, “Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space,” which is known as PAROS, a position to which Ambassador Soares alluded to in his remarks.
We also listened with great interest to our distinguished Russian and Chinese colleagues who spoke on their draft PPWT. Unfortunately, the PPWT does not meet the criteria set out in our National Space Policy of equitability and effective verifiability. Our position on the PPWT, outlined in CD 1847 has not changed – it is fundamentally flawed and provides no basis for a negotiating mandate in the CD for a binding arms control agreement. We would be pleased to re-circulate that analysis in response to the various points raised today. Let me offer just a few of those points.
For one, the text does not contain prohibitions on the testing or deployment of terrestrially-based anti-satellite weapons of the kind China tested in January 2007 generating almost 3,000 (2750) pieces of space debris.
It is also not effectively verifiable, which both Russia and China acknowledged in CD/1872. The draft PPWT does not include an integral, legally binding verification regime for effectively monitoring compliance with its obligations.
Mr. President, I would like to take the opportunity to commend the excellent side-event on space which SIPRI organized yesterday and the UNIDIR space conference in April. Such side events are valuable counterparts to our work here in plenary as Swiss Ambassador Lauber also indicated
Such side events, similar to those organized on FMCT by Australia and Japan, are not negotiations, and are not intended to undercut the CD, but to the contrary, to enrich, complement, and facilitate its work. We look forward to participating in all such side events dealing with various aspects of our work and hope CD member and observer states will share a similar intellectual curiosity.
Finally, I bid a fond farewell to Ambassador Im han-taek and thank him for his contributions here.