The United States and Japan have prepared a U.N. Security Council resolution that would promote a ban on nuclear weapons in space, according to the draft, amid concerns that Russia could introduce one as part of a system aimed at destroying satellites.

The draft would call on U.N. members "not to develop nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction specifically designed to be placed in orbit around the Earth," in line with a policy on the peaceful use of space expected to be endorsed by the U.S. and Japanese leaders during their summit in Washington next month.

It remains uncertain, however, whether the world body's key security panel will be able to vote on the draft resolution as Russia is expected to oppose it, a source familiar with council negotiations said.

The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits signatories, including Russia, from placing in orbit around Earth "any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction."

The document prepared by the United States and Japan also mentions "the grave consequences" for the interests of all U.N. members that could result from the detonation of such a weapon in outer space.

Washington's intention to draft a resolution with Tokyo on the matter was expressed by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in a Security Council meeting on March 18 chaired by Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa (C, front row) chairs a U.N. Security Council meeting on March 18, 2024, in New York. (Kyodo)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and U.S. President Joe Biden will commit to promoting the peaceful use of outer space in their meeting planned for next month in Washington, officials with knowledge of the event said.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby disclosed last month that Russia is developing a capability for attacking satellites in space.

The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives intelligence committee said last month there was information on a serious national security threat, and ABC TV reported it pertained to Russia's intention to put a nuclear weapon in space.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied the report during a state TV program.

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