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Satellite navigation pact agreed on with Russia

Updated: 2014-07-01 07:38
By Zhong Nan in Harbin ( China Daily)

China and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to deepen cooperation between each other's satellite navigation systems to compete with Europe's Galileo and the United States' Global Positioning System.

The memorandum will help China and Russia find synergy in space by making their respective satellite navigation systems - Beidou and Glonass - more compatible and practical.

Vice-Premier Wang Yang said technology cooperation has become the main engine driving trade and investment growth between China and Russia, as well as improving their economic development.

As both nations have their own satellite navigation systems, their operation, service performance and application modes have special characteristics, which will not only be made complementary through closer cooperation but will also enhance their global competitiveness.

"Satellite navigation systems have broad application prospects in the fields of logistics, shipping, fisheries, tourism, disaster relief and social management," Wang said. "They also will play an important role in accelerating the pace of developing the Silk Road Economic Belt, which is firmly supported by the Chinese and Russian governments."

Wang said China is willing to launch more investment activities and infrastructure construction, and carry out joint research projects and talent exchanges to develop cutting-edge technology, as well as form a stronger partnership with Russia.

To catch up with rivals in more developed nations, China has been accelerating the research and development of new technology on the Beidou system and promoting its application in sectors including transportation, fisheries and agriculture.

China's Beidou system will control 70 to 80 percent of the domestic satellite navigation industry by 2020, and the value of the Beidou navigation industry is predicted to reach 400 billion yuan ($65.3 billion) by that time, according to a report released in September by China's National Development and Reform Commission.

The main goal for the industry's long-term development is to promote applications in civil service sectors.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said Russia believes prospects for cooperation between the Russian Glonass system and the Chinese navigation system are good.

"Our system is more suitable for northern, polar latitudes. The Chinese system is more southerly. Their complementarity would result in the biggest and most powerful competitor to any navigation system," Rogozin said.

To shorten the technical gap between Russia and the West, Rogozin said his government is eager to expand cooperation with China in other high-tech fields such as aerospace, satellite navigation and mapping, as well as establishing a manufacturing base for wireless electronics.

"In the future, manned space flights, observational cosmology, lunar and Mars explorations can also be jointly conducted by the two sides," Rogozin said.

Because of Washington's failure to allow deployment of Glonass stations in the US, Russia suspended the operation of all American GPS sites in its territory starting from June.

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