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US Eyes Communications Channel With Russia on Space Activities, Assistant Secretary Ford Says

© REUTERS / Maxim ShemetovNational flags of Russia and the US
National flags of Russia and the US   - Sputnik International
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States and Russia could benefit from having a communications channel for addressing concerns over space activity, US Assistant Secretary for International Security and Nonproliferation Dr. Christopher A. Ford said on Friday ahead of bilateral talks in Vienna next week.
“We’ve had a lot of experience over the years working with folks such as our Soviet counterparts back in the Cold War on how to manage incidents that may occur in communications channels … There isn’t yet that kind of communications channel linkage or practice, if you will, in the space arena. And perhaps it’s something to look into”, Ford told reporters during a telephonic briefing on the upcoming talks. “How it works in a space arena will have to be pretty space-unique, but the principle I think is quite sound and this is something that I think will be very useful for us to be discussing”.

Ford added that establishing a common set of space hostility deterrence mechanisms, including a communications channel, among other means, would be key to ensuring stability and predictability in the extra-terrestrial territory.

According to the Assistant Secretary, the US would ideally like to see the new norms implemented under multilateral arrangements that include as many countries as possible, rather than under bilateral or even trilateral agreements.

During next week's summit, the US also plans to discuss Russian and Chinese activities in space that have drawn concern, Ford said.

"We hope this space dialogue coming up next week in Vienna will be an opportunity for the US and Russia to strengthen bilateral understanding of each other's policies and activities in outer space and to advance the development of norms and responsible behavior there in order to avoid miscalculations or misperceptions that could lead to inadvertent escalation", the official added.

On Thursday, the US Space Command said Russia earlier in July conducted a space-based anti-satellite weapon.

Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, commenting on the claim, said that Washington only accuses Russia of conducting missile tests in order to justify its own plans to deploy weapons in space.

Russia has repeatedly called on the United States to conclude an agreement to prevent the militarization of space, but Washington has rejected Moscow’s proposals.

The United States and Russia will hold a two-day bilateral space security exchange summit in Vienna starting on 27 July.

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