- Press Release
- Jan 26, 2023
United Nations General Assembly Adopts Draft Resolutions Regarding Space Weapons
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from a much longer press release issued by the UN on 7 December 2022
The Assembly then took up the report, “Prevention of an arms race in outer space” (document A/77/383), containing four draft resolutions and a draft decision.
CSABA KŐRÖSI (Hungary), President of the General Assembly, said that action on draft resolution IV, “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space”, is postponed to a later date to allow time for a review of its programme budget implications by the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary).
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted draft resolution I, “Prevention of an arms race in outer space”, by which it called on all States to contribute actively to the objective of the peaceful use of outer space and to the prevention of an arms race in outer space, and urged States conducting activities in that domain to keep the Conference on Disarmament informed of the progress of bilateral and multilateral negotiations on the matter.
It then adopted by draft resolution II, “Destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing” (document A/C.1/77/62), by a recorded vote of 155 in favour to 9 against (Belarus, Bolivia, Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria) with 9 abstentions (India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Pakistan, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Togo, Zimbabwe). Among its terms, the Assembly called on all States not to conduct such tests and to continue discussions to develop further practical steps and contribute to legally binding instruments on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.
Next, the Assembly considered draft resolution III, “No first placement of weapons in outer space”, retaining preambular paragraph 5 reaffirming that practical measures should be examined and taken in the search for agreements to prevent an arms race in outer space. It did so by a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 50 against, with 3 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Switzerland).
By a recorded vote of 114 in favour to 48 against, with 4 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Eswatini, Malawi, Switzerland), it also retained preambular paragraph 9, welcoming the draft treaty introduced by China and the Russian Federation on the prevention of the placement of weapons in outer space and on the threat or use of force against outer space objects.
It next retained preambular paragraph 11 by a recorded vote of 113 in favour to 44 against, with 8 abstentions (Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Eswatini, Italy, Malawi, Papua New Guinea), stressing the importance of the political statements made by several States that they would not be the first to place weapons in outer space.
The Assembly then adopted the draft resolution as a whole, by a recorded vote of 122 in favour to 50 against, with 4 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Seychelles, Switzerland), by which it urged an early commencement of substantive work based on the updated Chinese-Russian draft treaty. The Assembly stressed that, while such an agreement is not yet concluded, other measures may contribute to ensuring that weapons are not placed in outer space. It encouraged States to uphold a political commitment to not be the first to place weapons in outer space.
It then adopted the draft decision, “Reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours”, by a recorded vote of 162 in favour to 9 against (Central African Republic, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Syria) with 5 abstentions (Belarus, Chile, India, Pakistan), by which the Assembly decided to include an item by the same name in the agenda of its next session.
Acting without a vote, the Assembly adopted the draft resolution, “Role of science and technology in the context of international security and disarmament” (document A/77/384), by which it called on Member States to remain vigilant in understanding developing in science and technology that could imperil international security.