G7 to Seek Ban on Satellite Destruction Tests, Government Sources Say

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations plan to call on the international community to refrain from tests in which they destroy satellites with missiles, according to several government sources.

The request is aimed at deterring China and Russia from developing anti-satellite weapons. It is expected to be stipulated in a joint statement after the ministers’ meeting in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, from Sunday to Tuesday, the sources said.

The foreign ministers will discuss diplomatic issues in preparation for the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May. One of the key agenda items at the Karuizawa meeting will be the stable use of space, including the handling of retired satellites and other space debris now floating in Earth’s orbit.

A joint statement will address the realization of a sustainable space environment, expressing serious concern over the proliferation of debris and declaring a voluntary ban on tests to destroy satellites with missiles that would generate a massive amount of debris.

The G7 nations announced individual bans on such experiments in 2022 and 2023. Inclusion in the G7 statement would clearly state the G7’s joint position and call on other nations to follow suit.

Debris has increased rapidly as space has been more actively utilized, increasing the risk of collisions with satellites. In 2021, Russia destroyed one of its satellites with a missile launched from the ground, generating debris. China also conducted such a test in 2007 and is said to be improving its capabilities in this area.

The G7 foreign ministers hope that a joint statement will clarify their opposition to the tests and increase pressure on China and Russia not to conduct them. The statement will also call for international cooperation in space surveillance to monitor the movements of debris and other objects.

The statement will also condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in the strongest terms, and call for Russia’s immediate withdrawal and the cessation of support by third countries to Russia. It will further condemn Russia’s use of disinformation to create a favorable situation for itself.

Serious concern will also be expressed about the situation in the East and South China Seas, where China continues its aggressive maritime expansion. The statement will state opposition to China’s attempts to unilaterally change the status quo, and the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.