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Mainland, Taiwan look to possibilities in aerospace

Updated: 2013-02-28 00:52
By AN BAIJIE ( China Daily)

Mainland, Taiwan look to possibilities in aerospace

Lien Chan, Kuomintang honorary chairman, inspects spacesuits while visiting the Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Wednesday. [ZHANG HAO / CHINA NEWS SERVICE]

Anything is possible.

Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, used the well-known catchphrase on Wednesday to describe how cross-Straits cooperation can fare in aerospace.

The mainland is eager to cooperate with Taipei on space research and development, she said at a news conference.

Her remarks came as Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan led a delegation visiting the Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Wednesday.

During the visit, the delegation met the three astronauts who went to space in June on the Shenzhou IX spacecraft.

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, was a focus among the visitors, and most of them took photos with her, China Central Television reported.

Sharing a light moment, Lien's wife, Lien Fang-yu, asked the female astronaut to take her into space during the next space mission, the report said.

It's the first time that Lien Chan has been to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

In 2005, when Lien was the KMT chairman, he led a delegation to the mainland at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It was the first time in 60 years that leaders of the CPC and KMT had met.

The Beijing Aerospace Control Center is not mysterious to Taiwan visitors because many Taiwan reporters have already been there, Fan said at the news conference.

Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut, called for cross-Straits aerospace cooperation in July when he met with a visiting summer camp group of 38 Taiwan students, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Plant seeds from Taiwan were sent into space on mainland spacecraft, marking the first step in the cross-Straits cooperation in aerospace technology, Yang said.

That cooperation can be promoted in the research of aerospace medicine, biology and materials, he said.

Mainland aerospace authorities would like to train astronauts from Taiwan, Yang said.

Fan, the spokeswoman, said that cross-Straits economic cooperation and personnel exchanges have increased since 2008, and the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties is in line with the interests of people on both sides of the Straits.

Lien's visiting delegation, with representatives from Taiwan's political, business, religious and media sectors, arrived in Beijing on Sunday and left on Wednesday evening. Mainland leaders, including Party chief Xi Jinping and President Hu Jintao, met the delegation during its stay.

Both sides expressed confidence in the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and Lien said that making the Taiwan Straits peaceful is a common desire of Taiwan society, Fan said.

Residents from more mainland cities will be permitted to travel as tourists to Taiwan in 2013, and work on this issue is being carried out in an active, yet prudent manner, she said.

Ten mainland cities, including Guangzhou, Chongqing and Fuzhou, were allowed to issue travel visas to individual mainland tourists last year.

The number of mainland tourists to Taiwan — both group and individual visitors — reached a high of 1.97 million last year, up 57.5 percent year-on-year, according to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.