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Mahdi Zolfaghari : China can Play a Constructive Role in International Cooperation in Outer Space Security

Dr. Mahdi is currently the Managing Director of the Iran Language Institute. He worked as Director and Editor-in-Chief of Political Achievement(a quarterly journal of the Scientific Society of Islamic Ideology and Politics)from 2007 to 2010. From 2009 to 2010, he work for Scientific-Research Political Knowledge as a managing editor.

Additionally, he served as Senior Researcher at Parliament Research Center from 2011 to 2017, Director of Science and Strategy Deputy at International Sobh-e Qarib Institution from 2012 to date, and Assistant Professor at Lorestan University from 2012to 2023. He received his Ph.D. drgree from Alameh Tabatabaei University. His research interests focus on foreign policy and international relations, including major power foreign policy, Iranian foreign policy, peace and security in the Middle East, nuclear weapons and arms control in the Middle East, soft power and British foreign policy.


Based on the article Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space: Research in the Past, Future Outlook published by Dr. Mahdi Zolfaghari , SPCIS has interviewed him about his perspective on the prospects of international cooperation in outer space security. In addition, SPCIS asked his opinion about the role China can play in future international cooperation in this area. The following is Dr. Mahdi Zolfaghari ’s answer.

China can Play a Constructive Role

in International Cooperation in Outer Space Security

In Dr. Mahdi Zolfaghari ’s 2017 article, he stated that establishing a more binding international system is indeed a beneficial way to promote outer space security. However, some major powers, like the United States, are not interested in establishing more sophisticated cooperation mechanisms. 

Despite the reluctance of certain major powers, there are still prospects for international cooperation in this area. The issue of outer space security is a global concern, and it requires collective efforts to address it effectively. The increasing reliance on space-based technologies by various countries for communication, navigation, surveillance, and other purposes makes it crucial to ensure the peaceful use of outer space.

About the possibility, firstly, the international community has already shown its consensus on the importance and urgency of preventing an arms race in outer space. This is evident from the regular adoption of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly since 1990, without any negative vote. This consensus provides a foundation for further cooperation and encourages countries to engage in discussions and negotiations.

Secondly, there have been successful examples of international cooperation in the realm of arms control and disarmament. Treaties such as the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) demonstrate that states can come together and agree on measures to promote security and prevent the proliferation of weapons. These examples serve as a precedent for potential cooperation in preventing an arms race in outer space.

Thirdly, the increasing awareness of the potential threats posed by the weaponization of outer space has led to the emergence of non-governmental organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions advocating for the peaceful use of outer space. These entities can play a crucial role in raising awareness, conducting research, and promoting dialogue among different stakeholders, including states, to foster cooperation and find common ground.

Lastly, the evolving nature of technology and the increasing interconnectedness of the world provide opportunities for collaboration and cooperation in outer space security. The challenges posed by space debris, cybersecurity, and the need for space traffic management require collective efforts and the sharing of information and expertise.

China maintains a relatively independent position in preserving outer space security and preventing an arms race. China's stance on this issue presents an opportunity for the country to play a constructive role in future international cooperation. 

Firstly, China can contribute to international cooperation by actively engaging in discussions and negotiations on outer space security. As one of the major space-faring nations, China's participation and constructive input in international forums, such as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD), can help shape the agenda and promote dialogue among different states. China's perspective, experiences, and expertise in space technology and operations can provide valuable insights and contribute to the development of effective measures for preserving outer space security.

Secondly, China can take the lead in promoting transparency and confidence-building measures in the realm of outer space activities. By sharing information related to its space programs, launches, and intentions, China can enhance trust among other space-faring nations. Transparency can help dispel any concerns or suspicions regarding China's space activities and foster an environment of openness and cooperation. Additionally, China can advocate for the adoption of international guidelines or codes of conduct to govern space operations, which can further contribute to stability and security in outer space.

Thirdly, China can play a significant role in promoting international cooperation through capacity-building initiatives. China has made remarkable advancements in space technology and has demonstrated its capabilities through successful space missions. By sharing its knowledge, expertise, and resources with other countries, particularly those with limited space capabilities, China can contribute to the development of space programs and foster cooperation in areas such as satellite technology, space research, and space exploration. This can lead to greater collaboration and mutual benefits among nations, as well as contribute to the overall security and peaceful use of outer space.

Lastly, China's independent position on outer space security can serve as a bridge between different perspectives and interests. By maintaining an impartial stance and facilitating dialogue among states with varying viewpoints, China can help bridge divides and build consensus on key issues related to outer space security. This diplomatic role can contribute to the development of cooperative mechanisms and the establishment of a more binding international system for the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

Contact: Ali

Interview: Pan Tianxiang

Editor: Li Yishan



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