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A new appeal for governance measures for space security that is unlikely to deliver results – The Diplomat


April 12 marked the 60th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight in 1961. It also became an occasion for new calls for the preservation of cosmic reverence. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, issued a special message on this occasion, to speak, “We support the initiation of negotiations on the development of an internationally legally binding tool that prohibits the deployment of any weapon. [in space], as well as the use of force or the threat of force. “China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, has a similar opinion to speak “We are calling on the international community to begin negotiations and reach an agreement on arms control to ensure space safety as soon as possible,” said earlier this week. Lijian added that “China has always been in favor of stopping an arms race in space, it has been actively promoting negotiations on a legally binding agreement on arms control in the same space. with Russia. ”

There is little doubt about the growing concern regarding the growing threats to peaceful use of space for the benefit of all, but it is difficult to be optimistic about any. Any immediate solution to the myriad of problems facing spatial governance.

In 2008, Russia and China proposed a draft Treaty to prevent the placement of weapons in outer space, the threat or use of force against extraterrestrial objects (PPWT), and A revised text was released in 2014. It didn’t make much of an impression. external assistance by a small group of states. The two countries’ recent appeals do not appear to have much traction in the face of some developments in the space sector as well as in the broader international security environment.

Of course, Russia and China are not the only countries calling for weapons control and space security measures. UK recently suggestions, “Reducing Space Threats through Standards, Rules and Principles of Responsible Behavior” provides a new approach that looks at space security threats from a bottom-up perspective. In particular welcome the absence of regulatory factors in the UK proposal. Due to the lack of progress in key areas such as the identification of “space weapons”, the UK proposal focuses on behavior. Ambassador Aidan Liddle, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Great Britain to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva, in a recent blog of the Office of Development and Diplomacy, Commonwealth & Development, Written that there is a need for a different approach to space security: “an approach that looks at behaviors that can exacerbate tensions and promote competition, not just military equipment.” There have been previous attempts also in this direction. Efforts by the European Union at the International Code of Conduct for Spatial Activities (ICoC) (2013), the New Group of Government Experts of the United Nations (GGE) on transparency and measures Confidence building (TCBM) in 2013, and GGE 2018-19 on More Practical Measures To Stop The Space Arms Race (PAROS) are a few other initiatives over the past decade. . But none of these led to any meaningful results.

Meanwhile, the threats to the management of outer space are increasing. With their growing reliance on space, nations are investing in space coping capabilities that can deny any enemy advantage in space. Although space coping capabilities including a dynamic anti-satellite weapon (ASAT) are not new, these programs were halted for several decades until China successfully conducted a test. The first ASAT was in January 2007. Before that, the United States and the Soviet Union had conducted several ASAT tests, but both realized the negative consequences of their actions and did not perform any Which ASAT tests have been since the mid-1980s. Since then, China appears to have conducted more ASAT tests, although they call them “missile defense tests” to avoid national defense. condemnation.

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The shifting balance of power dynamics and the ubiquity of technology to a large number of states means that more players are now playing, making writing new rules of the road limitless. same difficulty. This has been evident in many recent spatial governance proposals that have not garnered much needed support, not because of a lack of understanding and appreciation of threats and challenges. for outer space, which is simply the result of competition for power.

In particular, a number of recent studies have shown an increase in spatial coping capacity across Asia. Last week, the Office of Director of US National Intelligence (DNI) in report on global threats to US national security, claiming that the Chinese military “will continue to integrate space services – such as surveillance and satellite navigation, navigation and timing. space (PNT) – and satellite communications into their weapons and command and control systems to undermine the US military’s information advantage ”.

The report added that air-to-air weapons would be “indispensable to the PLA’s potential military operations” and that China possesses air-to-air weapons aimed at the US and its allies’ space systems and their partner. Beijing is also said to be continuing to “train its military space elements and deploy new destructive and non-destructive anti-satellite weapons (ASAT)”. .

The report also notes that China has deployed ground-based ASAT weapons that can destroy satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) and “ground-based ASAT lasers may be aimed at blinding or damage the optical sensors in sensitive spaces on LEO satellites. ” The report also assessed that Russia is deploying new ASATs to “disrupt and undermine the space capabilities of the US and its allies”, adding that Russia is continuing to “develop, test and equip. an array of non-destructive and destructive space weapons – including jamming and cyber capabilities, energy-oriented weapons, orbital capabilities, and ground-based ASAT capabilities. ”

First month, World Security Organization (SWF) and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has released their respective reports on their ability to counter global space. Both of these reports highlight major developments in the past year in terms of developing, testing, and implementing anti-spatial capabilities. In addition, the reports also mention the development and testing of technologies for rendezvous and near-point operations (RPO) in both LEO and geographic asynchronous orbits (GEO), which could lead to Co-orbital ASAT capability. Due to the great power competition politics has sparked global governance debates, even the development of technologies with apparent civil and peaceful applications – including RPO technologies – has also been viewed with caution and suspicion.

These developments represent an urgent need to review existing global governance tools as well as develop new measures to curb current destabilizing trends in space security. But with recent efforts, including the final GGE in 2018-19, unable to even produce a consensus report at the end of discussions, there are serious difficulties in developing a consensus. By international consensus, this continues to be the biggest problem facing the outside. space mode. Progress will likely require the development of small, technical agreements rather than large, overarching, comprehensive and too difficult agreements in today’s international circumstances.

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