An arms race in space many fear would lead to catastrophic consequences. This discussion provides an overview of the laws regulating space weaponry and briefly describes the international dynamics involving China’s recent missile test. Did this test break any treaties, its implications to the global community and the question of whether it could or should have been prevented by diplomatic means will be addressed.
In total, six international treaties have been signed concerning the use of outer-space. The 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty banned nuclear testing either in space or in the atmosphere. It “prohibits nuclear tests or any other nuclear explosion underwater, in the atmosphere, or in outer space, so nuclear weapons can neither be stationed, orbited or tested in outer space” (Dean, 2005). In 1968, the .Astronauts Rescue Agreement, as the name suggests, requires that astronauts be returned safely to their country. This extends to any property of a country. As a follow-up to this agreement, the international community put in place the formal procedures that would administer liability claims involving damaged property in space at the .Liability Convention in 1972. An agreement to register anything put in space was signed at the .Registration Convention in 1976. The .1984 Moon Agreement was a conservation measure. “It took the first steps to establish a regime for exploiting the natural resources of space” (“International Legal Agreements”, 2004).
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty is the most recognized law concerning weapons deployment in space. . It was constructed during the height of the Cold War between the Soviets and the U.S., both fearing the consequences of broadening the nuclear arms build-up to the regions of space. The two countries, therefore, united with other nations in agreement that space must not be used as a platform in which to launch nuclear arsenals. .that the exploration of space must entail only peaceful objectives.