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IR Working Paper 2010/1 (PDF, 75KB)
An arms race in space among the major powers would be immensely dangerous, destabilising and expensive. Russia, which has a long history in space technology dating back to Sputnik in 1957, does not have the resources or the political will to sustain such a race. But China does. This is principally an issue between the United States and China. Some analysts say that it is too late to conclude a treaty to ban weapons in space, but others argue that, if not a treaty, then perhaps a code of conduct might work. It is in the interests of both the US and China€”and the world!€”that the weaponisation of space be stopped. On 28 June 2010, President Obama announced a New National Space Policy with a central goal 'to promote peaceful cooperation and collaboration in space', and he invited arms control proposals to help make that happen. Now is the time. Australia, enjoying close relations with both the US and China, could play an important role in encouraging the major powers to reach such an agreement.