In the face of such spirited advocacy for space weapons by
U.S. public officials, and the
time spent without making progress on a PAROS treaty, the international community
has still managed to achieve significant accomplishments and possess important
alternative resources for ensuring security in outer space.
about China's capacity to quickly develop a space weapons program
of its own are not completely unfounded, they are possibly
misplaced given that China has been the most vocal, along with Russia,
in the call for a PAROS treaty. For years, both countries had steadfastly
demanded that negotiations on both an Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) treaty and a PAROS treaty
be conducted simultaneously. In 1995, at the prospect that consensus
could be reached on FMCT, China and Russia dropped their insistence
for linkage. China went one step further in 2002, downgrading its
demand for negotiations on PAROS to simply a request for discussion
of the issue, to which the U.S. finally agreed.
and five other states (Viet Nam, Indonesia, Belarus, Zimbabwe, and
Syria) submitted a working paper in 2002 outlining the basic elements
of an international legal agreement on prohibiting the deployment
of any weapons in outer space. It included language prohibiting
the threat or use of force against space objects, and thus ASATs
would also be outlawed.
Russia has done much in the way of confidence-building by unilaterally
declaring a no first use policy on space weapons. Confidence building
is the area of greatest potential for progress. Declarations such as those from Russia, help to reduce the incentive for developing a robust
space weapons program by discrediting the claim that a country's
space assets will inevitably become targets for attack.
Numerous noteworthy proposals made by civil society demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of the world, including those most capable of developing space weapons, is
in agreement on keeping space for peace.
As of the last relevant meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, a number of possible elements were proposed for addition to the PAROS working paper. These include periodic review conferences, a speical provision banning anti-satellite weapons, and specific technical measures to mitigate andprevent debris creation.
In October 2005 a draft of a PAROS treaty was released by many of the nations involved in earlier agreements. It once again reaffirmed the belief that space should be used for peaceful purposes.