Cablegate: Diplomatic Note Regarding Satellite Debris


DE RUEHSG #0345 1081607
P 171607Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. On March 10, Post received Diplomatic Note number 2957 dated
March 5, from the Ministry of Foreign Relations regarding Chile's
concern about the impact produced by the reentry of space debris
from satellite "USA 193" into the atmosphere. Paragraph 2 contains
Post's informal translation of diplomatic note 2957.

2. The Ministry of Foreign Relations - Special Policy Directorate -
presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United States of
America, and has the honor to refer to the situation created -
recently - by the U.S. non-operative satellite "USA 193" and its
posterior destruction in outer space.

In regards to this situation, the Government of Chile values the
information initially provided by the Government of the United
States of America about its decision to destroy the satellite and
its commitment to assuming the corresponding responsibilities in
conformity with international space norms.

Without disregarding the former, the Government of Chile finds
itself in the position of needing to emphasize its full support of
the reigning world commitment to the pacific use of outer space and
the responsibility that falls on the United States regarding
compliance with the treaties and principles of the United Nations on
this matter.

In support of that stated, the Government of Chile reiterates its
concern about the impact produced by the reentry of space debris
into the atmosphere, whether planned or not. It is especially
disquieting to consider the danger represented by the possible
falling of such objects onto national territory or exclusively on
its economic zone, which could bring with it grave damages to
persons, patrimonial goods, and activities of different types; or to
the security of sea and air vessels. Likewise, it is concerned that
the Pacific Ocean be utilized as a place where dangerous materials
are collected, which puts at risk the preservation of the marine
environment and its living resources.

The Government of Chile has been a constant promoter before the
world community of a quick and effective application of those
judicial mechanisms that regulate the exploitation and utilization
of outer space for peaceful ends, particularly when faced with those
challenges which occur due to the increase in the number of
artifacts found in orbit.

Moreover, it emphasizes the need to continue to improve the
international space system and to commit to it. In consequence, the
Government of Chile reiterates the need to continue to develop - in
the pertinent fora - a more complete international judicial
framework, of a preventive nature, that permits the establishment of
directives that can be implemented effectively in cases of
emergency. In this way, it would be possible to count on, in an
opportune fashion, not only more precise information but also the
necessary coordination between those countries that might find
themselves affected.

Finally, the Government of Chile reaffirms its growing concern
regarding space debris and the exclusively voluntary content of the
mitigation directives. Regarding the correlating legal
restrictions, Chile will continue to realize - as it has been doing
for decades - diplomatic steps towards the definition of more
adequate international norms regarding this important area.

The Ministry of Foreign Relations - Directorate of Special Policy -
avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the
United States of America the assurances of its highest and most
distinguished consideration.


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