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Official: China's space policy open to world

Updated: 2014-01-11 02:42
By Chen Weihua in Washington ( China Daily)

Xu Dazhe, the new chief of China's space industry, is seeking more international cooperation in Washington less than a month after his country's first successful soft landing on the moon.

Xu said China's space policy has always been very open. "We are willing to cooperate with all the countries in the world, including the United States and developing countries," he said on Thursday on the sidelines of the International Space Exploration Forum held at the US State Department.

A space scientist by training, Xu was promoted less than three weeks ago to head the China National Space Administration. Previously, he led China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.

Xu said that his attending the meeting shortly after taking the new job was meant to send a signal to all his counterparts worldwide that China is willing to strengthen its cooperation with other nations.

Recently, China has been working with Russia and the European Union on space exploration, and the EU participated in the observation of China's moon landing.

China has also been launching satellites for other nations, including sending into orbit a telecommunications satellite for Bolivia on Dec 21.

However, cooperation between China and US space agency NASA has been hampered by an exclusionary law passed by the US Congress in 2011. It prohibits NASA from using its funds to host Chinese visitors at NASA facilities, citing security concerns, and also prohibits NASA from working bilaterally with Chinese nationals affiliated with a Chinese government entity or enterprise.

Xu praised the US for its advanced space technology and said China has cooperated with NASA before but it came to a halt after the law was passed.

He said that the US invitation of China to the forum, and his participation, have sent a positive signal.

Xu was also expected to attend a summit of heads of space agencies on Friday in Washington addressing exploration. The summit was organized by the International Academy of Astronautics.

China was in the spotlight at the Thursday forum, which gathered ministers and high-level officials from some 35 spacefaring nations to talk about the opportunities and challenges in space exploration.

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns lauded China for becoming, in 2013, the third country in the world to complete a successful landing on the moon.

Other major events in the past year included India's launch of its Mars Orbiter Mission and the US' Voyager I, which became the first man-made object to leave the solar system and enter interstellar space.

Burns emphasized the importance of international cooperation in space exploration.

"The question facing us today is whether we can muster the courage and political will to advance space exploration and ensure that cooperation continues to trump competition," he said at the forum.

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