in Yun Zhao (ed), International Governance and the Rule of Law in China under the Belt and Road Initiative (Cambridge University Press, September 2018), pp. 243-258
Introduction: Space security has become a hot topic in recent years, with space cooperation, regional space cooperation in particular, believed to be the major mechanism for realising and maintaining such security. This chapter examines the role of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and discusses how such cooperation can contribute to the maintenance of space security. Drawing on the successful experience of Europe, the chapter explores possible ways of furthering space cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. It also outlines the principles and guidelines that should be followed in pursuing future regional space cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. The chapter concludes by arguing that regional space cooperation is crucial to furthering space security, and thus that the Asia-Pacific region needs to step up its efforts in the arena.
The development of space technologies has important implications for both state security and perceived military imperatives, particularly given the increasing number of space activities taking place worldwide. The issue of space security has become a focus of interests in the space arena partly because of the inclusiveness of the term 'space security' itself and partly because of the challenges posed to international society with regard to the peaceful uses of space. Since the start of the space era in 1957, international society has emphasised the importance of international cooperation in space activities. Such cooperation results in mutual respect for and understanding of the space activities of various countries, consequently contributing to the peaceful uses of space. International cooperation can take place in various forms and at various levels.
Regional cooperation, a subcategory of international cooperation, is particularly helpful in addressing concerns over space security. We have already witnessed successful regional cooperation in the case of Europe. However, cooperation within the Asia-Pacific region does not appear to have led to fruitful results as yet. The launch of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) provides an excellent opportunity to re-examine the current situation and future development of space cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Under the auspices of the BRI, countries in the region can be encouraged to work more closely with one another to realise space security.
Following this introduction, Section 1 of this chapter addresses the relationship between space security and space cooperation. A proper understanding of the term 'space security' is vital to any further consideration of space cooperation. Thus, this section of the chapter presents the various contemporary understandings of the term to set the stage for the discussion in the subsequent sections. Section 2 then examines the current status of regional space cooperation in Asia-Pacific, showing it to be far from satisfactory at present. In making suggestions for improved space cooperation within the region, Section 3 takes regional space cooperation in Europe as an example, demonstrating how successful such cooperation has been in helping Europe to realise space security. With the successful European experience in mind, Section 4 then discusses possible ways of furthering space cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and proposes principles and guidelines to follow in future. The chapter concludes by arguing in Section 5 that regional space cooperation is so vital to ensuring space security that the Asia-Pacific region would be well advised to step up its game in this arena...