Bloomberg published a somewhat cryptic article yesterday citing comments by a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson suggesting that China wants “a new global treaty to govern the use of outer space.” The spokesperson offered no other details other than to say that Chinese representatives would be attending a UN COPUOS subcommittee meeting in Vienna next month.
The official transcript of the briefing doesn’t offer much additional detail, other than the fact that, nearly two weeks after China’s ASAT test was first report, it remains a hot topic for journalists attending the Foreign Ministry’s briefings. Rather than replacing the OST, it’s more likely that the spokesperson was referring to previous efforts by China to back a treaty that would ban space weapons. “China is willing to make efforts with other countries to formulate a binding outer space treaty so as to effectively prevent the weaponization of the outer space,” she said.
Speaking of the OST, the treaty turns 40 this year and its anniversary will be marked by a number of events, including a one-day symposium in early March at that hotbed of space policy debate, the University of Nebraska.