Magazine article Arms Control Today

CD Session Ends in Deadlock; Coordinators Appointed

Magazine article Arms Control Today

CD Session Ends in Deadlock; Coordinators Appointed

Article excerpt

NEWS AND NEGOTIATIONS

THE 66-MEMBER CONFERENCE on Disarmament (CD) closed its second of three negotiating periods this year on June 29 without agreeing on a plan of work. But, for the first time since 1998, on June 14 the CD appointed three special coordinators tasked with reviewing the conference's agenda, expanding its membership, and improving its functioning.

The three special coordinators will be charged with consulting delegations and reporting to the conference at the end of September's negotiating session on all proposals and views concerning their respective topics. Special coordinators on these same subjects have been appointed in the past with little result, though the conference did add five members in August 1999. However, the United States has said it will not support any additional members until the conference proves it can operate at its current size.

Although a few CD members expressed some hope that the special coordinators could help break the deadlock that has prevented the conference from conducting any negotiations for almost three years, the appointment of the coordinators is unlikely to ease the current stalemate because the key dispute over whether the CD should negotiate on the prevention of an arms race in outer space does not appear to be waning. In fact, China submitted a document June 7 outlining the key elements for a treaty to prevent the weaponization of outer space, a proposal the United States staunchly opposes.

Arguing that the possible weaponization of space is "imminent," Chinese Ambassador Hu Xiaodi provided the conference with a model of a treaty prohibiting the testing, deployment, or use of any weapons, weapons systems, or their components in outer space. …

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