Joint statement on the initiative on undertaking political commitment not to conduct destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile tests
25 October 2022
Submitted by Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Russian Federation
Belarus, China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Russian Federation consider the suggestion to undertake political commitment not to conduct destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile (ASAT) tests to be a step in the right direction, although insufficient to guarantee of exclusively peaceful activities in outer space and address the tasks of preventing an arms race in outer space (PAROS) provided for by the UN GA First Special Session on Disarmament in 1978.
The initiative related to this type of ASAT defined in the UNGA draft resolution of the 77th Session on destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile tests contains a number of significant omissions. The adoption of such commitment does not imply the renouncement of developing and manufacturing the said anti-satellite systems, their combat use or non-destructive ASAT tests. The elimination of the already available weapons of this type is not envisaged as well. As a result, as long as this initiative becomes universal, advantages for a certain group of States that are already in possession of such means would emerge, while others, primarily the developing countries, would find themselves in a discriminated position.
All this is exacerbated by the absence of a definition of anti-satellite missile weapons and their testing as well as of a verification mechanism related to this political commitment.
We reaffirm the need to adopt practical measures to launch negotiations on a comprehensive legally binding instrument for the purposes of PAROS that would contain guarantees of no placement of weapons in outer space and not using force or threat of force against space objects. We call upon all UN Member States to proceed to elaborating such an instrument as soon as possible in order to preserve outer space as a peaceful environment for the benefit of all mankind.