The space has been the frontier in a less-than-friendly competition since the Cold War...
When the first communication satellites were launched, the militarization of outer space including its so-called peaceful uses also started. The weaponization of outer space, on the other hand, is generally understood as the installation of devices with destructive capacity in the orbit. While space has become an important arena for military operations, it remains non-weaponized until now. However, the situation may soon change as countries such as the US, China, and Russia are allegedly pursuing anti-satellite weapons. The US, for example, has publicly declared their interest in having deterrence weapons in space and was reported to be conducting research on anti-satellite weapons, space based earth-strike weapons, and deployment of support systems as early as the beginning of the century. The present international space laws offer room for maneuvers that can provoke instability of international peace and security, disturbing international instruments related to nuclear weapons and missiles, and possibly leading to a new arms race.
The First Committee of the UN General Assembly...
...also known as the Disarmament and International Security Committee (DISEC), is concerned with disarmament and any threats to the international community as we know it. The endeavors of DISEC focus on seeking solutions to all disarmament and international security matters within the scope of the Charter or relating to any other organ of the UN while promoting cooperative measures aimed at strengthening stability through lower levels of armaments.
All member states of the UN are entitled to participate in DISEC and abide by the principle of “one member, one vote”. DISEC, although lacking the binding mandate, is in full cooperation with Security Council by making recommendations concerning the international security regime. This normative nature of the resolutions produced by this committee renders it salient.
Issues to Consider
In light of the potential consequences both militarily and naturally (e.g. space debris) caused by space weapons and arms race, what should be done to avoid such development?
With the recent occurrence concerning nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction, should the so-called peaceful use of outer space be allowed? When to draw a line between the peaceful use and military use of outer space when the majority of satellites are purposely used for detection, surveillance, and tracking? Should there be any enforcement mechanism concerning the security of outer space? What implications does this have on the issue of disarmament in general?
Space is an international realm and not owned by any single state. In the 21st century, space security presents an opportunity for states to either come together and move toward a future of common peace and stability or one of conflicts and arms race.
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