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Towards an Asian Space Agency? The whence and whither of Asian interstate relations in the space sector in the 21st century

Citation: Beischl, Christoph (2018) Towards an Asian Space Agency? The whence and whither of Asian interstate relations in the space sector in the 21st century. Doctoral thesis, University of London.

Beischl, C - PhD Thesis - IALS - 2019.pdf

Creative Commons: Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Despite the known benefits offered by intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) to governments, the inception of the intergovernmental Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization in 2006, as well as various academic proposals for the creation of other space-specific IGOs in Asia in the 21st century, recent years have still not seen a real engagement amongst Asian governments with dedicated space programmes towards establishing a broad regional space-specific IGO. Within this context, this study has decided to ask whether there is a reasonable potential amongst Asian governments to commence negotiations towards establishing an Asian Space Agency (ASA) – perceived within certain stipulations as a broad IGO-based regional space cooperation mechanism – based on the general political and legal status quo of their space programmes as of 2017. In particular, this study focusses on whether the governments with the most ambitious space programmes and domestic access to leading space technology (development) capabilities in Asia, identified as China, India, Iran, Japan, North Korea and South Korea, currently display such a potential. After all, they might be likely at the centre of an ASA. For that, this study develops and employs a methodological approach based on Moravcsik’s well established International Relations theory ‘Liberalism’ and a plausible determination of basic political and legal ASA characteristics. At the analytical core is a government-by-government assessment and subsequent specialised comparison of the state preferences (somewhat constituting national interests) underlying the current space programmes of the six selected governments, their major domestic and cooperative space-related measures promoted in the pursuit of these state preferences, as well as their respective basic political and legal framework concerning IGO-based regional space cooperation. In contrast to its confident hypothesis, this study concludes in the end that the present space-related state preference situation amongst the six selected governments is such that there is currently no reasonable potential amongst them to commence negotiations towards establishing an ASA. The most problematic factor for the establishment of an ASA is each government’s respective current second space-related autonomy-oriented state preference. Notably, to finish on a more positive and practical note, this study’s final sections further discuss generally the closest IGO-based regional space agency variant to a fully-fledged ASA about which the six selected governments might reasonably negotiate in the context of their current space-related state preferences. Also, the final sections put forward some general policy and regulatory recommendations that might help to broaden these governments’ (IGO-based) intergovernmental space cooperation in the future.

Creators: Beischl, Christoph and
Subjects: Law
Divisions: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Collections: Theses and Dissertations
  • 2018 (submitted)


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