The CXRS (Charge-eXchange Recombination Spectroscopy) diagnostic for the core plasma of ITER will be designed to provide observation of the dedicated diagnostic beam (DNB) over a wide radial range, roughly from a normalised radius r/a = 0.7 to close to the plasma axis. The collected light will be transported through the Upper Port Plug #3 (UPP3) to a bundle of fibres and ultimately to a set of remote spectrometers. The design is particularly challenging in view of the ITER environment of particle, heat and neutron fluxes, temperature cycles, electromagnetic loads, vibrations, expected material degradation and fatigue, constraints against tritium penetration, integration in the plug and limited opportunities for maintenance. Moreover, a high performance (étendue × transmission, dynamic range) is expected for the port plug system since the beam attenuation is large and the background light omnipresent, especially in terms of bremsstrahlung, line radiation and reflections. The present contribution will give an overview of the current status and activities which deal with the core CXRS system, summarising the investigations which have taken place before entering the actual development and design phase.