WASHINGTON • The United States and Russia will next week conduct their first formal bilateral talks on space security since 2013, following an American allegation that Russia had tested a space-based anti-satellite weapon this month, a US official has said.
Washington hopes to promote norms of responsible behaviour in outer space, said Mr Christopher Ford, the US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, calling for greater stability, predictability and crisis management tools.
A State Department spokesman said the talks would take place tomorrow in Vienna.
Mr Ford told reporters on Friday that the US believes Russia and China have already turned space into “a war-fighting domain”, noting the US Space Command has said it has evidence that Russia tested a space-based anti-satellite weapon on July 15.
“What they’re doing is signalling to the world that they are able to destroy satellites in orbit with other satellites, it would appear. That is a very disturbing, provocative, dangerous and ill-advised thing for them to be doing,” Mr Ford said.
“We hope that we can convey that message to them and work on a better way for countries to show appropriate restraint and responsible behaviour in orbit, because this is the sort of thing that could get out of hand and go very badly rather quickly in the future,” he added.
He declined to name the person who will lead the US team or to address whether US and Russian officials next week might discuss a possible replacement for the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New Start), which caps US and Russian-deployed strategic nuclear weapons warheads at 1,550 each.
US special presidential envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea had told reporters after June 22 arms control talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Vienna that further talks are possible late this month or early next.