China Urges US to Join Talks on Arms Control for Space

Russia and China proposed a treaty in 2008 that would ban weapons in space, but the US rejected it

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China is calling on the US to join talks with Beijing and Moscow to work towards preventing an arms race in space.

On Tuesday, China’s ambassador for disarmament told the UN that the US should stop being a “stumbling block” for arms control in space. Ambassador Li Song said the US has resisted international efforts to limit weapons in space. “To put it bluntly, the US wants to dominate outer space,” he said, according to The South China Morning Post.

Back in 2008, China and Russia proposed a treaty that would ban the deployment of weapons into space, but the US rejected it, accusing the two countries of trying to gain a military advantage. The US also said it doesn’t like the treaty because it lacks verification methods and does not apply to ground-based weapons that can be used in space.

Li said the US is hypocritical because it has been blocking negotiations for verification methods for the Biological Weapons Convention. “This double standard is the ‘fundamental flaw’ that hinders the prevention of an arms race in outer space,” he said.

Li said China and Russia are open to verification methods for the space treaty but want to focus on banning weapons first. He said the two countries want to first “close the door on the weaponization of space … from a political and legal standpoint, and then address the issue of verification through an additional protocol when the technical conditions are right.”

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Considering the US has a brand new military branch dedicated to space, there is little incentive in Washington to enter arms control talks for the domain. Since Space Force was formed in 2019, Pentagon leaders have been portraying Russia and China as a “threat” to the US in space to justify more spending for the branch.

The West appears to be set on militarizing space. NATO recently added attacks from or within space as a reason to invoke Article V, the alliance’s collective defense clause that could trigger a war with all 30 of its members.

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